B2B Social Media and Content Marketing Mistakes

Over the past 10 years, we have seen (and made) hundreds of mistakes. Your most well-intentioned content marketing and social media strategies can be rendered ineffective, if you become victim to the same mistakes.

Assuming that writing blogs is Content Marketing

Content marketing does not mean writing only blogs. 

For many B2B businesses, blog posts are the most popular form of content. And why not? They are easier to create (as they are text-based), help in improving search engine ranking, establish the company’s expertise, and help in increasing brand awareness. But you don’t need to stop only at blogs. 

There are many many more forms of content that you can create and benefit from. Here are a few you can consider

  • Whitepapers – Effective lead generation magnets. Can be made available as gated content 
  • Case Studies – Useful for objection handling, later the later stages of the sales funnel 
  • Testimonials and customer success stories 
  • FAQs – Answering the most common questions about your product/ service
  • How-to Guides – Providing practical guidance, advice, and tips
  • Unbiased and honest reviews of tools and technologies
  • Presentations
  • Webinars 
  • Email newsletters 

#B2BContentMarketing #ContentMarketing

#B2BContentMarketing #ContentMarketing

Having your technical team write content

Nobody is interested in who you are and what you offer. People care about their problems and look for solutions to solve their problems. If your product/ service offers them the solution, they will speak with you. 

Now that we have established this, before you ask your technical team to write content for your business, ask yourself –

  • Are your technical folks good writers?
  • Can the content they create help the decision-makers to help them make a “business” decision (and not a technology decision)?
  • Can they translate technology solutions into business solutions
  • Do they have the time and bandwidth to create content on a regular basis?
  • Do they have the inclination to be writers?

If the answer to any (or all) of the above-mentioned questions is ‘no’, then NO, you should not have your technology folks create content for you.

#B2BContentMarketing #ContentMarketing

#B2BContentMarketing #ContentMarketing

Not marketing the content

“Content is king, but distribution is queen, and she wears the pants.” 

If you are simply creating the content and don’t have any strategy or plan for its promotion, your efforts are not going to yield the desired impact. Don’t write the blogs, whitepapers, case studies, etc. for simply hosting those on your website. 

Here are some ways you can distribute your content

  • Promote the content on appropriate social channels (For B2B companies, Twitter, LinkedIn company page, and LinkedIn groups are some great channels)
  • Repurpose the content and share it across appropriate channels
  • Use the content in newsletters/ email campaigns
  • Your sales teams can use the content pieces in #SocialSelling
  • Ask your employees to share the content through their respective social channels (There is more about #EmployeeAdvocacy elsewhere on our site too)
  • Create paid campaigns around the content pieces (especially around whitepapers and webinars)
  • Approach third party publications for guest columns

#B2BContentMarketing #ContentMarketing

#B2BContentMarketing #ContentMarketing

Not having a coherent strategy

“We have decided to venture into content marketing. Let’s start with 8 blogs and 2 whitepapers.” –  If this is how you plan to start your content marketing efforts, let me stop you right there. 

Content Marketing ≠ Content Writing

Especially for B2B companies, content should be a part of a coherent strategy including – 

  • Who are you writing for (decision-makers or influencers)
  • What do you want to achieve through the content (Awareness, thought leadership, objection handling, etc)
  • Which channels are available to you for publishing content (your website, personal branding of your CXOs, outside publications)
  • What is the ideal frequency
  • What should be the tonality (For instance, posts by the CXOs can be contrarian, but the website content may need to provide answers)
  • What type of content do you need (long-form, listicles, short updates, infographics, videos)
  • Where can the content be promoted (social channels, newsletters, email campaigns, social selling)

Start “writing” the content only after you have thought through the answers for (at least) these questions. 

#ContentMarketing #B2BSocialMedia #ContentStrategy

#ContentMarketing #B2BSocialMedia #ContentStrategy

Not maintaining a consistent cadence

Last blog published 6 months ago.

Last tweet posted 3 years ago.

LinkedIn company page – 5 updates (all about the open positions)

CEO’s presence on LinkedIn – Wait, does she use LinkedIn?  

If you were to take a snapshot of your company’s online presence, would it look like this? 

Especially for B2B companies, it is of paramount importance to ensure a well-established online presence through various social channels and content. 

To avoid such situations, here is what we suggest to companies 

  • Don’t start the content marketing and social media efforts unless you have the strategy, patience, and plan to carry on the activity on a continuous basis
  • Don’t even set up the social channels unless you have the social media strategy in place
  • Content is king (I know it’s a cliche) – Figure out a way to write content for your website on an ongoing basis
  • CXOs cannot ignore social media – they MUST have a strong online and social presence
  • Get your employees involved in content creation and promotion (#EmployeeAdvocacy can be your key differentiator!)

Identify your business goals, talk to the experts, define a strategy, and get going – a strong content and social media plan is already core to the successful businesses. 

#ContentMarketing #B2BSocialMedia

#ContentMarketing #B2BSocialMedia

Writing content only for SEO

I have been in the field of #DigitalMarketing for the past 15+ years, and if I were to give one advice to content marketers, I would say, “Don’t write content for search engines, write for human beings.” 

We are in 2020, and it is high time that we stop stuffing the articles with keywords in the hope of getting ranked on search engines. 

Let’s accept that Google will NEVER rank your article high just because you have used a particular keyword 3+ times. And when you write for  search engines, humans do not enjoy reading the content.

So, here is my appeal to B2B businesses – Don’t hire SEO writers. Hire Content writers who can – 

  • Write simple and easy to understand content (of course, use the keywords but don’t stuff those)
  • Create content that answers the questions of your target audience
  • Understand your business and weave in your message consistently across all content pieces
  • Produce high quality content at a regular cadence

#ContentMarketing #B2BSocialMedia

 #ContentMarketing #B2BSocialMedia

Believing that an agency cannot write your content

“But you are not domain experts. How can you, as an external agency, write content for us?”

Valid question. But then, how easy is it to find people who are

  1. Domain experts
  2. Know how to write blogs/ whitepapers/ eBooks that the business decision-makers would want to read, and
  3. Understand the nuances of social media and the marketing aspects? 

Not very easy. Right?

So here is what I would suggest. When you are evaluating an agency

  • Ask about their content writing process 
  • Check how they will gather information from your subject matter experts
  • Ask for their content samples
  • Check for references and testimonials
  • Check how they measure the impact of the efforts
  • Understand from them as to how they see the content playing a role in your coherent marketing strategy
  • Ask how they can contribute to the success of your content marketing (beyond just writing the content

Answers to these questions should convince you about the ability (or inability) of the agency to drive your content marketing initiatives. 

#B2BMarketing #ContentMarketing

#B2BMarketing #ContentMarketing

Writing for cheap likes

Clickbait is not bad. In fact, I am a big fan of attention-grabbing headlines. But…you need to follow that through equally good (and relevant) content. 

Many times, we see that businesses, especially technology companies, tend to write about the latest technologies or buzzwords just because those are trending or everyone is talking about those. 

However, we suggest not doing that. Never talk about any topic unless you have something meaningful to contribute and unless you have established your credibility to talk about that topic. 

Such clickbait will get you the clicks, but you risk losing your credibility. 

So how can you ride on the trending topics?

  • Write your own exploration of the topic
  • Ask questions and seek answers
  • Interview a thought leader in the space and publish the interview
  • Conduct a webinar with a thought leader
  • Crowdsource answers to some common questions about the trending topic

#B2BMarketing #ContentMarketing #TrendingTopics 

#B2BMarketing #ContentMarketing #TrendingTopics 

Expecting each content piece to go viral

The harsh truth about B2B content marketing – One piece of viral content will not ensure a strong brand or increased sales. There. I said it. 

  • When it comes to B2B, viral content is not a hallmark of success 
  • It should not be an ultimate goal
  • Content virality is outside your control and is not scalable
  • Virality ≠ credibility

What B2B companies really need is a coherent content strategy that integrates sales and marketing, considers the branding of company CXOs, and emphasizes on #EmployeeAdvocacy.

They need to focus on creating content that creates awareness, establishes their thought leadership, generates interest amongst the target audience, and fuels demand. 

The objective is to maintain consistency, monitor results, and keep tweaking the strategy.

#B2BMarketing #Virality #ContentMarketing

#B2BMarketing #Virality #ContentMarketing

Posting content on Medium, etc. – But not on website

No matter how popular any platform is (think Medium, LinkedIn Pulse, Quora, etc.), your website is still the best place to host your content. 

Here is why we always recommend hosting all the long-form content on your website – 

  • Search engines like fresh content – your site is likely to get higher search engine ranking with high-quality content
  • The content will help you demonstrate your expertise and thought leadership to your website visitors
  • New website content, when promoted appropriately, will drive more traffic to your site
  • It will keep your website visitors engaged
  • It will help you stand out from your competition
  • You don’t have to worry about the changes in the platform that could impact the visibility of your content

There is absolutely no harm in promoting the content on various other platforms, but make sure that it primarily resides on your website – after all, that’s probably the only thing that is fully in your control. 

#B2BMarketing #ContentMarketing #ContentStrategy

#B2BMarketing #ContentMarketing #ContentStrategy

Writing salesy content

The sad truth is that no one out there is specifically looking for you. And in the new world of #B2BSales, no customer wants to be sold to -they want to buy. When your target customers are online, they are looking for stuff that will help them perform their jobs better. They want answers to the questions that worry them. Their searches are for solutions to the issues that hold their business performance back. You may have the products or services that offer those solutions but unless your content is couched in the language of the customer, it is unlikely to resonate.

The appropriate content would have to show that you understand their problems, the impact of not solving them, and the various solution options. For sure, what you have to offer must appear in the eyeline of the prospect as one of those options. Equally importantly, the content should show the relative merits of your approach. But leave it to the buyer to draw the right conclusion. They are definitely smart enough!

#B2BSales #B2BMarketing #ContentMarketing   

#B2BSales #B2BMarketing #ContentMarketing   

Not repurposing the content

How many times has it happened that you spend a lot of quality time and resources in creating a wonderful piece of content and just left it on the website?

This is a grave mistake. There are always several opportunities to repurpose your content pieces.

How? Here are some examples –

  • Convert a whitepaper into a series of blog articles 
  • Convert an important section in your whitepaper or a blog article into an infographic
  • Convert a whitepaper into a presentation for uploading on SlideShare
  • Do a webinar based on the topic of your eBook
  • Convert your LinkedIn status updates into an eBook or a listicle
  • On Twitter, create a ‘Moment’ of all your top performing tweets

Do you have any more such ideas? 

#B2BMarketing #ContentMarketing

#B2BMarketing #ContentMarketing

Not leveraging executive branding

If you’re not leveraging CxO branding as a part of your B2B marketing, you’re missing a huge opportunity. 

  • 77% of all discussions on social media are people seeking help, info or advice. People can offer that easier than brands
  • 92% of people trust people over companies, even if they don’t know them!
  • Messages by people are shared 24 times as frequently as those by the companies they work for.

So, no question that individuals get tremendous visibility, are seen at the right stage, and can be impactful. Now, how to make use of that in CxO branding?

Well, the CxO’s content and social presence can become an important supporting channel to amplify the B2B brand’s message. The CxO can draw attention to the message by taking a stand, showing thought leadership, and blazing a trail different from the rest of the crowd.  By doing this, the CxO can get into the eyeline of decision makers, make new connections, and open conversations. 

Can you afford to ignore the potential of that opportunity?

#B2BMarketing #PersonalBranding #CxOBranding #B2BSocialMedia

#B2BMarketing #PersonalBranding #CxOBranding #B2BSocialMedia

Not writing for all the decision makers and influencers in the sales cycle

The B2B sales cycle is long. It is complex. It involves multiple people. Each decision-maker and influencer over that cycle has distinct information needs, objections, motivations, and triggers. Even as we claim that content and social media can help accelerate (or at least help) the sale move along, we have to acknowledge these immutable facts about the people we are writing for. If your content has to grease the wheels of the sales process, it has to appear in the eyeline of each party involved in that process. And for that to happen, it has to answer their specific questions. The CEO (or the person searching on her behalf) will probably want to know if you understand what it takes to grow their business. The IT guy may want to know if your vision includes addressing the problems of environments like theirs. 

If your content addresses only the business user then it will not support that user’s attempt to build a wider business case. That may mean more objections, longer cycles, and possible rejections. Is that what you want?

#B2BSales #ContentMarketing #ObjectionHandling

#B2BSales #ContentMarketing #ObjectionHandling

Not understanding the needs of the sales teams

You don’t write blogs so that your target customer can read them and say, “These guys write great blogs.”. You want them to read the blogs and start thinking of you as someone who understands their business issues and, hence, could have a possible solution to those issues.

This means that the blogs should reflect the issues that sales care about -without being direct and salesy. The questions the sales teams face the most should find resonance in the blogs you write. The content should be created for the customers the sales teams are targeting. The sales campaigns they are running should drive the tweaks in the content strategy. That apart, the content should help the sales team as they tackle their own challenges. For example, if awareness is great and brand image is good but leads are low then turn to more lead-gen focused content like whitepapers. Sales should be able to use the content for lead nurturing, for opening hard-to-open conversations, and anything else on the plate. 

The content and social media is a part of the ecosystem that will support and enable sales even if it isn’t always directly about lead generation. That’s the most important objective. 

#B2BSales #ContentMarketing #B2BMarketing #B2BSocialMedia

#B2BSales #ContentMarketing #B2BMarketing #B2BSocialMedia

Hiring bloggers/ freelancers

There are some writers out there who can show great testimonials. They are easy enough to find on platforms of all shapes and sizes. They are often cheaper too. So, why shouldn’t you hire them for your content? 

Freelancers and individual bloggers can be hard to pin down. And harder to hold accountable. What happens to your content strategy if the content arrives late, in poor shape, or doesn’t arrive at all? It’s not just about the money, time lost is opportunity lost.

In the B2B space, writing talent is rare so it’s hard to find the right resource too. When they point you to samples, how do you know for sure they created that content? How do you know how much input they needed from the client? How much time it took? How many iterations it went through? This is not a writing contest. It’s about creating content that has business meaning. How many freelance writers and bloggers can exhibit the required level of business understanding? Another big issue is confidentiality. With individuals, how can you be sure that the content they are creating for you is exclusive? That they won’t repurpose it for their other clients?

An agency will probably be able to understand your business needs much better. They will have laid down processes and standards. They can be held accountable for their actions much more easily than an individual. They have more to lose and, hence, more commitment to the process. Their testimonials and references can be easily verified. There is no comparison if the context is that of a strategic business need.

#ContentMarketing #B2BMarketing #StrategicMarketing #MarketingStrategy

#ContentMarketing #B2BMarketing #StrategicMarketing #MarketingStrategy

Not measuring content performance

Do you know if your content is working? How do you know that? Is it that you like it when you read it? Or that your friends and colleagues do? But that’s an echo chamber. How do you know if your target customers like it? Do you know if it is helping them as they start to form a perception of your organization? Do you know if the perception they are forming is the right one? Measurement is important to answer these questions meaningfully.

There are various metrics that can be checked. This is about focusing on the metrics that are right for the marketing situation. If your marketing objective is to grow awareness then the visibility of your content (impressions, reach) are great metrics to look at. If the question is about the ability of the content to resonate with the target audience, then engagement metrics are good to examine. If the objective is to check if the content can drive actions then we should look at clicks, website traffic, time spent on site etc. The comprehensive view these metrics throw up when viewed in context will tell you the true impact of your content.

#ContentMarketing #B2BMarketing #Metrics #B2BSocialMediaROI 

#ContentMarketing #B2BMarketing #Metrics #B2BSocialMediaROI 

Not creating content for all stages in the sales funnel

57% 63% 80%. There are different numbers floating around about how much of the buyer journey is now traversed without the customers having to depend on the selling organization for information, clarification or direction. Whatever be the real number, it seems clear that in the content age, customers are looking to define their problems, estimate the impact of not solving them, researching possible solutions, identifying the vendors with the offerings to provide those solutions, and the relative capabilities of those vendors, by themselves. In most instances, the direct engagement with the sales folks starts after all that has happened. If that is true, shouldn’t you have content out there that addresses the unique informational needs of the customer at each of these stages? If not, how do you expect to become part of the conversation later?

#B2BSales #ContentMarketing #B2BBuyerJourney

#B2BSales #ContentMarketing #B2BBuyerJourney

Ignoring thought-leading content

Are you just like everybody else? Is your marketing objective to establish yourself as a part of a crowd? To be seen as a company like every other out there? To not be known for any specific capability, point of view, or expertise? If so, then you can blissfully ignore thought-leading content.

But if your aim is to rise above the crowd, you have to differentiate. You have to take a space, a question, a problem, an approach, anything that you can credibly claim expertise in, and then make it your own. Of course, you need to pick something that gives you some business benefit. Over time, and with enough marketing, your target audience should be able to associate you closely, and uniquely, with that area. Thought-leading content will help you set the agenda. It will make you appear like the leader in that space. It will bring your name into consideration first in that context. And that’s a massive advantage in a competitive market.

#ContentMarketing #StrategicMarketing #ThoughtLeadership #B2BMarketing

#ContentMarketing #StrategicMarketing #ThoughtLeadership #B2BMarketing

Treating Content Marketing as a campaign and not a strategy

Content and Social Media is slow and steady by design. There are no instant wins (except by accident). No one social media post or one blog will deliver any meaningful results. It takes time to show impact because the impact builds up incrementally post by post, blog by blog. There is a lot of ground to cover, many stakeholders to address, much information to deliver in a concerted, carefully scheduled manner. Since there are so many people to address, you need to become visible to them on the channels that they are comfortable with. That may mean covering a wide swathe of social channels. There are no shortcuts and it’s not possible to achieve much in a short time except show activity. 

From that perspective, if you want to build a foundation for long term, predictable, and sustainable benefit then the only option is to approach this as a strategy. Plan for the long term. Be ready to invest time, energy, and money without cutting corners. By all means examine milestones to reassure yourself of progress in the right direction but don’t get in if you are looking for instant gratification.  

#StrategicMarketing #B2BMarketing #MarketingStrategy

#StrategicMarketing #B2BMarketing #MarketingStrategy

Picking a social channel just because you are comfortable with it

You are, almost certainly, not your target customer. If you want your target customers to consume your content and draw a specific perception about you, then you have to be visible in their eye line. That would suggest that the choice of channel and of what goes on that channel should be dictated ONLY by the habits of your target customers. So, it’s not your comfort but that of your target audience that matters.



Ignoring inorganic strategy

Organic visibility for content and social media grows slowly and steadily. It is critical to establish a sound foundation on all these channels that convinces your audience about your credibility. But once that foundation has been made, a purely organic strategy can only do so much. Once you know that your message is resonating with the target audience that consumes it organically, it’s time to take the next step. It’s time to become visible to a larger group of target customers in a shorter span of time. That means going inorganic.

The ad engines of B2B-friendly channels like LinkedIn have evolved. They allow you many options to become visible and to make your content visible to the right people. Marrying a sound inorganic strategy to your organic content and social media strategy will accelerate results. Kicking off a carefully considered inorganic strategy almost always helps the organic growth too. There are some great synergies here to be exploited. 

#B2BSocialMedia #Advertising #PPC

#B2BSocialMedia #Advertising #PPC

Exclusively focusing on inorganic strategy

You want quick results. You have the budgets to run a wealth of ad campaigns on all social media channels. So, why shouldn’t you?

Well, if you haven’t put together a strategic narrative on your content and social channels, you may not be able to zero in on the specific messages that are most likely to work. You will end up spending more money than you should on propagating messages that don’t resonate. 

That apart, the people who see the ad could land up on your website or your social media channels and end up unimpressed because there will be no other evidence there that you’re the type of company they want to engage with. They will not draw the perception you want them to draw and your money will be wasted.   

Of course, this is a temporary fix. The entirely ad-driven strategy is unsustainable over the long term. 

The right approach is a carefully crafted mix of organic and inorganic strategies.

#B2BSocialMedia #Advertising #PPC

#B2BSocialMedia #Advertising #PPC