Today’s technology has blurred the lines between our personal and business lives. Communications flow freely as we share opinions, greetings, and information that connects us with people who feel similarly… or not.
From a personal perspective, this freedom of expression is normal and accepted. A sense of community is strengthened when friends deliver birthday and holiday greetings. When opinions don’t jibe, a little textual repartee is to be expected and often even enjoyed. However, social media for business requires a different tact.
There are two rules you’ll want to follow when implementing your B2B social media campaigns:
- Keep your content business-like
- Don’t waste your business audience’s time
Social nuances in the physical world should also be reflected online
Sometimes it’s difficult to remember that what we post is broadly disseminated through social media outlets like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. While we recognize that most folks on LinkedIn are looking for business-related content, we don’t often think of Twitter and Facebook as business platforms. Therefore, those who post to these sites often take a more personalized approach.
If you are in B2B marketing, you’ll want to be careful about that. Imagine that you are talking to a potential customer. When you deal with customers, people tend to be more careful choosing their words, whether it’s speaking to them one-on-one or giving a speech to a group. However, that sort of delineation often flies out the window when someone, who’s separated from his or her audience by a computer screen, writes a quick post on Twitter or Facebook. For that reason, some B2B marketers will even have business-only Twitter or Facebook accounts to firewall personal and professional accounts.
Whenever you post, you always want to keep in mind that it needs to be something that reflects positively on your business. A couple of months ago, CB Insights posted a pointed blog on 29 of the Biggest Corporate Brand Social Media Flubs. Many of these faux pas came from large corporations who had a complete marketing team in place. It was unclear as to whether their social media teams were seasoned marketing professionals or new college graduates, but it did point out how social media can be a difficult beast to control. In many cases, the gaffes occurred because employees were using their own devices and their own (not corporate) accounts. These posts were unintentionally attributed to the company because the poster hadn’t signed out.
Posts like these take on a life of their own and require a substantial amount of damage control – time and resources these companies were planning on using elsewhere to advance their brand. While a larger company may be able to float resources to address this, smaller businesses really can’t afford these kinds of blunders. And it’s even harder for them to avoid such missteps in the first place. When you are being asked to handle everything from advertising and PR to customer presentations and social media, it’s difficult not to let the social media part become an afterthought and post whatever comes to mind.
Mind the social time clock
Your audience is bombarded with messages all day. Whatever attention you attract should do everything it can to further your brand. Recent studies have shown that our average online attention span has decreased from 12 seconds to 8. This has led to a variety of studies trying to determine how many tweets or posts per day are too much. What’s become clear in these studies is that it isn’t just a question about numbers; the real issue is how much value your posts offer.
Blogs like Dennis Yu’s 3 Myths about posting too much content on Facebook point out that, if your content is irritating (aka doesn’t offer value and is repetitive or automated), you’ll lose your audience. However, if your followers find value in what you offer, then no amount of posts seems to be too much. This is echoed in another blog by Twirpz, Heavy Tweeting and Twitter’s Mute: How Much is Too Much? which reveals how your Twitter audience can easily put you on mute to minimize the chatter they receive.
Remember, your followers came to you initially because they saw value in your content. But if, after reading your first couple of posts of the day, they conclude that most of what you post doesn’t help them further their business, they’ll move on to something else. As pointed out in a September 2016 blog by iMPACT, “A decrease in followers is a good indication that you may be sharing too much content that isn’t valuable. If your followers feel like they’re being spammed or don’t get any value out of what you’re sharing, they won’t stick around.” Don’t waste that small amount of attention you’ve acquired just to increase your number of posts; make it impactful and increase your ROI.
Social media posting for business is an art
Planning your content can help you to avoid blunders. Planned content circumvents “heat of the moment” types of posts that often backfire. Remember, once something’s out there, you can’t take it back. Second, preplanned posts make you more efficient. You can run your posts as part of a campaign, building each message upon the one preceding it.
Social media marketing requires the same adept, creative, and diplomatic skills as any marketing discipline. It’s important that whoever is running your social media has a complete understanding of who the target audience is and what messages are most important to convey in what stage of your sales cycle. You want that person to post content specifically directed at furthering your brand, reaching the right customer at the right time with content that is catchy and valuable. If you’re posting social chit chat versus something informative about your company, your audience may gloss over the next few posts, potentially missing something important.
An experienced team can help you to create content for your posts and knows when to post them. There are so many different platforms, and it takes an understanding of each one to know what works best in each environment. Experienced professionals not only are aware of the nuances of each platform, but also know the pitfalls that need to be avoided.
At Porter Consulting, we have a deep understanding of the many ways to reach your customers. Our social media builder is designed to assist you with the tools and resources you need to make social media work for you. If you’d like to explore opportunities working with our professionals, we’d love to hear from you.