The inspiration for this post comes from a client I do some work for from time to time. They are absolutely convinced that they need to be constantly putting out social updates via Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Nothing inherently wrong with this idea. Except that they share the wrong things. Let me explain why I think they are making a huge mistake.
We all know that social promotion can be a great way to drive traffic in to the top of the lead generation funnel if done right. But what is the cost if it is done wrong? Simply missing out on leads? No, you could actually be driving customers in to the arms of the competition.
Coming back to the company I mentioned above. They put out many social posts a day, referencing generic articles/videos/whatever that cover the market they are in. For example, if forbes.com publishes something relevant to their market, they share it socially. This doesn’t sound so bad does it? The idea is that these constant social messages are good for branding, and keeping the company in the public eye.
But what happens if one of their valuable Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn followers actually clicks the link they share? Let’s walk through one of the many possible journeys:
- Company XYZ socially shares generic industry related content published on a third party site.
- A follower sees the social update, and clicks the link leading to the third party site.
- Whilst visiting the third party site, they see another piece of related content they want to read… that was actually sponsored by a competitor of the original company, complete with call to action.
- Follower views this new piece of content, and is captured by the call to action.
- Follower is dropped in to the top of the lead generation funnel of the competing company.
See the problem? By promoting what was originally thought to be harmless third party content to their social community, company XYZ has actually done their competitor a favour. Just think of all the advertising methods used on third party sites, any one of which could drive a potential customer to a competing company.
So why take the risk of promoting somebody else’s content on a monetized site you have no control over? All you are doing is making some noise, delivering free traffic to another website instead of your own, and potentially delivering fresh leads to competitors.
B2B social posts should share only the following things:
- Company related news and information.
- Links to company owned, branded content that forms part of the lead generation funnel.
- Third party content that is directly beneficial to the company. For example, if the company makes the cheapest blue widgets in the world, and forbes.com publishes an article stating the best way to buy blue widgets is on price alone, then share it. Making sure to highlight the synergy between the company’s USP and the promoted content.
It is that simple, if something doesn’t fit within these three boxes, then it should not be used as the basis for a B2B social post. Think of it this way, B2B social marketing should be shouting “Look at us!” and not “Look at them!” at all times.
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