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6 Ways B2B Marketers Fail at Social Media Marketing

You’re a smart marketer, so you get the importance of social media. You understand that target buyers are tapping into social to determine which solutions and vendors to consider.

You’ve probably set up the obligatory LinkedIn company page, Twitter handle, and Facebook page. Plus, you and the team are tossing out the occasional blog post…all with the goal of becoming part of your prospects’ daily social activity.

So all is good in the land of social media, right?

Wrong. In reality, you’re most likely struggling to see measurable results from your social media efforts, let alone ROI. Why is that?


Because chances are you’re making one or more of the following common mistakes with your social media approach. The good news is that each can be fixed.

Here’s why you’re failing with social media (and how to fix it):

1. You Don’t Understand How Your Buyers Engage on Social

Your target audience is on social media and actively reading, sharing, and engaging on their favorite social networks. But which social networks are they active on? And which topics are they talking about, what content are they sharing, and who’s influencing them? It’s hard to reach and engage your buyers without knowing the basics.

How to fix it: Survey your customers and invest in a social listening platform to get insights into how your target buyers are engaging on social media.

2. Your Content Is All about You

Content is the lifeblood of your social strategy. It’s what you’ll use to grab—and keep—the attention of your target audience on social media. So just remember that prospects are scanning content with one question in mind: “How will this help me?” Or said another way, they’re not looking for more content about how awesome your company is.

How to fix it: Focus on creating compelling, buyer-centric content that helps your target buyer become better on the job, make the boss happy, look like a rock star to colleagues, and not get fired along the way.

3. You’re Making It about Quantity, Not Quality

Have you ever looked through your company’s Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn fans and followers? Don’t be shocked when you discover that very few will get your sales (or PR) team excited. How did this happen? Well, you’ve most likely been focused on growing the size, not the quality, of your social audiences. No wonder you’re not generating clicks or downloads!

How to fix it: Think about building your social channels the same way you grow your email database. Make it about quality, not quantity. Start with following and engaging customers, top prospects, and industry influencers. Then let your buyer personas lead the way!

4. You Don’t Know Which Social Media Goals to Set

Most B2B marketers don’t understand how to set social media goals, which results in a lack of results (of course). For instance, should you focus on the number of blog posts per week and tweets per day? How about the number of fans and followers? Maybe retweets, brand mentions, and social reach? Or what about website traffic, clicks, and leads coming from social? Setting social goals can be confusing.

How to fix it: Understand which stage you’re at with social media, and then set your goals accordingly. If you’re just getting (re)started, set goals that are about consistent activity. Next, it’s about building a high-quality audience chock full of prospects and influencers. Then it’s more about engaging your social audience with the right content. Got all that humming along? You can now make your goals about website traffic, clicks, and ROI.

5. You Don’t Know Your Social Numbers

Ask any B2B marketer worth their salt how many monthly leads they generate, what they pay per lead, and what their email open and click rates are, and they’ve got the numbers down cold. Ask instead about best-performing blog posts, website traffic coming from social media, and hot prospects following the company on Twitter, and they’re not so sure.

How to fix it: Start thinking like the smart marketer you are. Set up KPIs to measure the performance of your blog (unique visits, subscriber growth, most popular posts), know which prospects and customers you’re engaging, and understand how much of your website traffic comes from social. The basics, right?

6. You’re Inconsistent at Best

Like all things marketing, social media is about being consistent and programmatic. Doing a blog post once in a blue moon? Randomly following folks and tweeting a ton and then not at all? Starting up a LinkedIn group and then forgetting about it six months later? Sound familiar? Inconsistently engaging on social media just won’t work.

How to fix it: You need dedicated resources for social media, and you should pace your social activity and efforts accordingly. This means means starting slowly, with a blog post per month and only one social network to begin with (think LinkedIn or Twitter). You can always ramp up your activity over time.

Just keep in mind that the process of fixing these mistakes won’t happen overnight. With that said, if you consistently share compelling content through quality social channels, and focus on engaging buyers and influencers, then results from social media will become your new reality.

Now we’re talking B2B social media!


Author: Carter Hostelley

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