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Opinion: B2B Marketers, Don’t Be Desperate When it Comes to Social Media Marketing

Marketing By Peter Morgan on February 6th 2017

With organic reach in decline, marketers can sometimes be grasping for ways to increase engagement through social media.

A test by Marketing Land showed that including emoji in tweets increased engagement by 25.4%. BuzzSumo, meanwhile, has recommended that brands should post to Facebook during “off-peak” times when there is less competition for newsfeed space.

A warning to B2B marketers: don’t become desperate.

Investing time and energy chasing engagement for engagement’s sake is a needless distraction. A few extra likes or retweets may nudge a meaningless metric forward, but may also distract from delivering real value for your business.

While using emoji or posting at 3am on Sunday morning may improve your engagement rates, if you’re a B2B marketer it’s unlikely to contribute to your business’ bottom line.

The last 18 months have seen social media reach maturity as a marketing channel. In reality social media is now just ‘media’ – another channel through which marketers can reach their audiences online. But social media is far more valuable than old media to the B2B marketer.

Due to the monetization of social networks, organic social content has become business hygiene – akin to publishing press releases to your website – while earlier social media KPIs such as ‘building a community’ and ‘fostering genuine conversation’ have both become minimal to the point of irrelevance, particularly for B2B marketers.

And though you need to be ready to respond and deal with incoming queries through organic outreach, most often the conversation is quickly moved into more traditional customer service channels.


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Ensure your message lands

In short, the business impact of organic B2B social media outreach is difficult to attribute. Generating valuable business outcomes on a consistent basis now requires paid social media. This is evidenced by increasing demand for social media advertising, with global spending forecast to reach $36bn in 2017, a 20% increase year-on-year.

There’s an enormous upside to this shift. Social networks can be likened to a huge rentable CRM, the largest and most detailed customer database the world has seen – and one which the customers themselves keep up-to-date.

Marketers can target both known and net new audiences with modest investment, using tools such as Brandwatch Audiences to ensure the message lands with high priority audiences.

Marketers can optimize campaigns in real-time, and understand the impact their activity is having on the bottom line. Through social media advertising, the B2B marketer’s focus can shift from generating conversations, to generating conversions.  It has never been easier to drive real, measurable value through media.

So don’t over invest your time in obscure tactics or gimmicks just to pump up engagement rates, if the subsequent engagement does nothing for your business. While it’s important to monitor audience interaction, be sure focus on the activities and campaigns that will deliver business outcomes. Make that your resolution for 2017.

Download Metia’s new marketing trends report here – including six trends that B2B marketers need to understand and act upon in 2017.


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Peter Morgan

Pete is Social and Analytics Lead at Metia Group. He has a degree in Economics, founded the independent record label Lost My Dog, and enjoys life in Surrey with his wife, daughter, and dog.