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B2B Social Media - Encouraging Team Participation

By Ryan Nicholson

Jul 28, 2015

About 7 minutes

Why Your B2B Social Media Is Failing and How to Fix It

You've Active_Social_Business_Blogbuilt out B2B content campaign and now you want to promote your content through social media. Your team is excited about your new social media efforts. Your sales team liked and shared the content to their social network. But after the initial excitement wore off your team slowly stops participating. Sound familiar?

Here are 5 reasons why that happens and 10 ways to get your company to be more active on social media.

Your B2B Content Sucks

This can be a painful realization, but social media campaigns often fail because you didn't build content that was very good. Your team is more likely to participate in your social media campaigns if they're liking and sharing content that they really do like.

If you're building great content that is informative and helpful, then your team is more likely to share this with your customers and prospects. If your content isn't unique or insightful then it won't go very far on social media. 

Bad content sets you up for two social media participation failures. 1. It disappoints your team and makes it less likely that they'll engage with the content 2. It sets a bad precedent. If you've constantly built bad content that hasn't performed well on social media, then your team will be less likely to share great content when you build it.

 B2B Social Media Takes Persistence

One of my favorite Groucho Marx quotes is "Why should I care about posterity? What has posterity ever done for me?" This is the attitude that many organizations takes towards social media. To inspire your team to be more active you've got to work to build out your presence. This takes time and effort. Many organizations aren't willing to put in this investment because there isn't an immediate return.

Take the time to build out something that your team members will be proud of. Invest a little extra in the design of your social media pages. Post interesting content consistently over time. This will help you build out a follower base. If your team sees that this is more than just a one off project they'll be more likely to participate.

 Social Media Doubters

B2B Social media doubters, every team has them. You probably know a few. You've heard them say things like:

  • Our customers aren't on social media
  • Social media is a fad
  • Social media is where people share pictures of their dogs
  • Social media is a waste of time

These misconceptions have faded as more B2B organizations see the power of building out their social networks. The doubters may need you to make a more compelling case. Luckily for you many social media platforms come with built in Analytics that will help you make this case. You can get follower demographics and interests. You can show the growth of your audience over time. You can also show the doubters how people are doing more than tweeting about what they had for lunch. 

Show the social media doubters some examples, like how ADP used LinkedIn to build out it's brand profile. You may not win over everyone, but even a couple of converted doubters go a long way. The best way to convert that doubter? Build your own success story over time.

 B2B Social Media is Scary

Scary, you might ask. Yes scary. I've held a lot of conversations with leaders of B2B companies who are considering taking the social media plunge and their fears are common and consistant:

  • If we're on social media people will steal our customers
  • If we're on social media people will steal our employees
  • If we ask our employees to sign up for LinkedIn they'll use it to look for other jobs
  • There's too much risk of our team sharing information they shouldn't
  • There's too much risk that someone on the team will post something they shouldn't
  • We've seen some social media horror stories in the news and we don't want that to happen to us

We've addressed social media privacy concerns before. My advice on this topic is always the same. Yes, these are valid fears. But they're valid fears whether you're on social media or not.

Organizations have poached customers and employees before there were phones or computers. If you're losing a lot of customers and employees to your competition then you may have greater challenges to address before you go down the road of social media. Companies that deliver on their promises and treat their customers and employees well have more to gain than they'll lose from an active social media presence.

Having a social media policy in place can also help assuage these fears. Here are some good reasources on how to craft a social media policy.

 Your Leadership Team isn't On Board

This is consistantly one of the biggest points of frustration for the B2B Marketers I work with. They understand the value of social and are compeltely bought-in, but they're just a mid-level manager.

They are tasked with trying to get participation from people in sales, operations, or other administrative roles. The challenge is that the leadership of the company or those individual departments don't lead when it comes to social media.

If you haven't made a compelling case to your leadership team for active participation then they won't buy in. This will cause a trickle-down effect. If they don't buy in then their teams are less likely to buy in. Execs often think of social media as the thing someone else takes care of. They consider it a way to broadcast content, but haven't sat down to get a thorough understanding of the mechanics of the medium.

If building out your social media participation is important then this top-level buy in is one of the most important factors in achieving greater participation in social media.

10 Ways To Get More B2B Social Media Participation

1. Win over your company leadership. Make sure that their social media profiles are also active.

2. Build a social media plan that is aligned with business goals. Integrate social with all marketing activities.

3. Build a convincing case for your team. Let them know how social aligns with business goals.

4. Create great content that is worth of sharing.

5. Create a calendar for the team to let them know about upcoming initiatives.

6. Find your social A-Team and encourage them to encourage others to participate.

7. Measure and share your social media successes with your team.

8. Make time weekly for building and maintaining your company's social media presence.

9. Actively encourage sharing. Be the social media drill sargent.

10. Educate your team on the mechanics of social media. Many aren't bought in because they don't understand the details of how it works. You mayh have to show them how to like/share/retweet etc. You may have to help them build out their own profiles.

Have any other great tips? Let us know how you've gotten your team to be more active on social in the comments section.

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Tags: B2B Marketing, advertising, social media marketing