What holds back b2b companies from tapping into social media? All too often, it’s the rampant misconception that social media may work well for consumer-facing businesses, but not for the b2b sector. And that misconception is often the result of one or several of what I call the 7 Deadly Sins of Social Media Ignorance. Here’s what they are and how you can purge yourself of them.
“We’ve done fine without social media, why shift strategies?” The truth is if you’re doing fine in one area, you can count on the competition to target the areas you’re not. If you have no presence on social channels, your competition could very well be cutting in on prospects and other potential wins simply because they’re the only ones there.
“We just don’t have time.” Time isn’t the problem; ingenuity is. With countless tools like TweetDeck, Stumble Upon, Hoot Suite, OneForty, daily social media actions can take as little as a few seconds. Blogging, admittedly, is a bit more demanding, but “not having time” is still no excuse. Your employees‘ heads are chock full of insights– after all, it’s part of their job! You don’t need more time, but a place where employees can be encouraged to share their insights.
“There’s no ROI in social media.” There’s no sin in turning a profit, and that’s actually why b2b companies should be making the most of social media. The basic tools are almost entirely free. While you may need more expensive tools and services as your presence grows, by that point, the real value becomes apparent. ROI arrives in the form brand advocates, engaged customers, leads generated and carving out a thought leadership role in your industry. Don’t let greed get in the way of building great relationships.
“We don’t have the content to feed our audience.” Everyone consumes content – if you’re reading this, you’re consuming content. To be active in the social sphere, however, all the content you distribute doesn’t have to be created in-house. It’s called sharing for a reason. If you like an article, spread it around. Share it with your followers and you can feed their online appetites even with limited resources.
“We can’t control what people will say about us.” The desire to control all the messaging around your brand is natural. It’s also unrealistic. You have to be willing to have conversations, not lectures. Listening to the conversations your customers and prospects are having about your brand online will provide valuable feedback. Engaging in those conversations, if done tactfully and honestly, can even help change minds.
“It’s just a fad.” Facebook has been around for over 7 years and Twitter for over 5. Both separately have enough users to rival the population of whole countries – a slight hint that people find these services useful. Even if it were a fad, this trend is way too significant to spurn just because you missed the first wave.
“It’s too complicated- we don’t know where to start!” That’s the beauty of social media – you’re never alone. No matter what your industry, sector, product, or service, you can learn from the example of others like you. Yes, social media is complicated. It’s basically a technology-facilitated version of human interaction. Don’t let the technological bells and whistles frustrate you - they’re just a means to engage a broader audience.