If I were to get a penny every time I heard a marketing manager explaining why they aren't on social media or creating content for a specific social media channel like Instagram, I’d be a millionaire by now. For some B2B marketers, social media is just a nuisance (well, if you ask them!).
And then there are those who set up social media accounts for their companies “just to be there”.
Why do so many companies think their business can’t truly benefit from social media? For example, employee advocacy programs or influencer marketing campaigns on social media can build brand awareness and engagement with potential customers, drive traffic to your website, increase time spent on the website and improve conversion rates.
What makes the client think they are different to others?
Sometimes, when discussing with a potential client, I get a feeling of déjà-vu. The reasons are surprisingly similar across different geographical markets, industries and company sizes. So I thought I'd gather some of these reasons into a blog post – and, of course, debunk them.
Let's call them myths instead of reasons.
The most common myths why companies don’t invest in social media marketing:
- "We don’t have time for social media"
- "Our products or services aren’t exciting"
- "Our target group isn’t on social media or a specific channel"
- "Our board/C-level doesn’t understand the benefits of social media"
Have you used one of those lines yourself?
1. “We don’t have time for social media”
It’s all just a matter of prioritisation – and social media should be on your list of priorities today. It’s very likely that some active users of Instagram (or their friends) are your potential customers. Or perhaps your potential customers have already found another service provider through the comments on a Facebook post.
Many clients have heard a consultant saying that social media content must be fun! So they start creating a lot of new content with a loose or nonexistent connection to other content marketing activities.
Don’t do that.
It’s also tempting to outsource your social media content and marketing activities to a freelancer or agency and ask them to report monthly how the number of likes and followers grow. Outsourcing saves the time, right?
Don’t do that.
Sometimes it feels easier to skip the planning on how to measure success and trust on vanity social media metrics like post likes and the number of followers.
Don’t do that either.
The best results are achieved when you align your social media marketing with your other content marketing activities.
I assume your target is to increase the number of conversions on your website; how can social media help you to reach your content marketing goals and how much new content you should create?
This must be shocking: you don’t need to create new content.
Most companies write blog posts, and a great way to get started is to promote some of your existing content on social channels through the advertising tools provided.
At Flockler, we promote our blog posts on Facebook and Twitter by creating a flow of content from beginner to advanced level. With the help of the powerful Facebook pixel, we can advertise the next piece of content to someone who started with the beginner level and also to serve the same content to lookalike audiences that aren't aware of our product and services. An effective social media advertising campaign moves the reader from awareness to action (conversion) and also finds other people similar to your current audience.
2. “Our products or services aren’t exciting”
Do your products and services bring value to your customers? Then you should have a bunch of content ideas for social media!
What are the questions and problems your clients are typically asking via customer support channels? At Flockler, our real-time chat is the best source of content inspiration. If a bunch of people are asking you the same question, it’s almost guaranteed to be something that other potential customers are wondering too - but they might find it silly to ask, or they don’t know you have all the answers.
Another way to create exciting, product-related content is to interview some of your most loyal customers and co-create the content with them. Nothing is more powerful than promoting your happy customers enjoying the product or service. Your customers love to share their moment of fame with their network - and potential customers find it easier to identify themselves with the experience of someone like them. Maybe it’s worth organising Skype calls, meeting for a coffee or organising an event with the most engaged customers?
Or go a step further and create a user-generated content campaign asking your customers to post content mentioning a hashtag. Ask them to show how they are using the product and service.
The algorithms of social media promote the content that's created by us, you and me, and not brands. When planning content (starting from the blog posts you are writing), think about how to make it more shareable and how to engage your stakeholders in creating content with you! As a rule of thumb, start spending less time worrying about not having content to post and more time spreading the content you have and engaging your audience in sharing it.
3. “Our target group isn’t on social media or a specific channel”
With over 4 billion internet users and roughly 3 billion of them on social media, how can your target group not be on social media?
No matter the industry you’re in, I can assure that you will find your target group on social media. Social media now is like websites were in the 90s; it does say a lot if your brand can’t be found there today. And according to Hubspot, as many as 75% of B2B decision makers support their purchasing decisions with social media.
Your target group might not actively post on a specific social media channel but most likely they visit their News Feeds to stalk their friends and family. Recently, there has been a lot of talk about Facebook being dead and teens not using it any longer. Maybe if I tell you that there are 2.27 billion monthly active Facebook users (that must include quite a lot of teens too) it'll encourage you to get started with social…
4. “Our board/C-level doesn’t understand the benefits of social media”
This myth is most likely the easiest one to solve – it’s all up to you to educate and show the benefits of social media marketing. But it might require some changes to your typical reporting when convincing board members.
Without exception, all board members and C-level directors are interested in one thing: how much revenue does the mix of marketing activities bring and what’s the most effective marketing channel.
Going back to the vanity metrics mentioned earlier, you can forget reporting on the growth of likes and followers on social media – board members aren’t focusing on these details and can't figure out if the 20% increase in likes leads to the growth in sales. Concentrate on how much money you are planning to invest (including the time spent by you and other marketing team members) and what is the conversion and return on this investment?
This myth being the showstopper also reveals the fact that you haven’t planned the conversions and goals before pitching the idea to board members or C-level.
You might not be able to track the purchases of the product or service if it isn’t available to purchase through the website in the first place but if you know how to interpret your data and metrics, you will be able to calculate the ROI of social media activities too. For example, if you know that a particular volume of high-quality traffic visiting your blog post leads to an increase in contact requests (or any other revenue generating conversion), then you can easily calculate how much it makes sense to pay per click on Facebook ads driving traffic to your blog posts.
What’s your reason for not being active on social media?