There is too much waffle in social media consulting. As a result, B2B businesses aren’t taking enough responsibility for their own social media presences. B2B companies should be great at social media, but they’re not.
I’ve spotted five myths that have got to change if social media is going to become a credible part of B2B companies. It’s time to start treating social media with the same commercial discipline that every other part of your business faces.
1. Social media is part of the marketing function
People seem to persist in leaving social media to the marketing team. This is the most dangerous myth I’ve come across. Social media impacts on customer service, public relations, recruitment and even procurement. Firewalling social media inside the marketing department is a bit like reserving email for use only by the IT department.
Decisive action: Give your customer support team the password to your Twitter account, today.
2. You can outsource social media
You can outsource particular functions like social media monitoring, copywriting for the web or video editing. But wholesale outsourcing your social media is like outsourcing sex. You can do it, but it’s not a long term sustainable solution.
Decisive action: Make social media one (internal) person’s responsibility and let them act as a pivot point for the internal and external stakeholders so they have oversight.
3. Social media is free
Everything takes time. Every minute you invest in Facebook is a minute that you are not investing in product development or direct sales. That doesn’t mean you should be afraid of the investment. Just that you need to optimise your time.
Decisive action: Start measuring how long you and your team spend online. Your companies Facebook page may look like fun, but it’s work. Treat it that way.
4. You need a consistent voice across all channels
Your LinkedIn audience is probably made up of your peers and professional contacts, your Twitter followers might be developers or designers and on Facebook you are having a conversation with University Graduates or potential new hires. Each of these communities do need some visual brand consistency, but you wouldn’t talk to your Grandma in the same voice that you’d use at the pub.
Decisive action: If you are automatically cross-posting the exact same content from Twitter to LinkedIn and Facebook using Hootsuite or Tweetdeck then stop. Now.
5. Social media needs more metrics
When you start with something, you need a way to know if you are winning. You need to create feedback loops. But as soon as you are up and running with social media then chasing the almighty ‘follow’ will incentivise the wrong behaviour. A small, tight-knit tribe that believe in the same things you do and are willing to recommend your products to their friends is much more valuable than a landgrab for extra followers. You need better (not more) metrics.
Decisive action: Change your metrics from ‘growth’ metrics like followers and fans, and start measuring ‘engagement’ metrics such as retweets or reshares. Or even better, start tracking sales attributed to digital channels.