B2B Social Media Marketing – 7 Core Rules for Your Playbook

Email used to be the wild, wild West of marketing. Today, that title belongs to social media. This, of course, is only natural. When you’re at the frontiers, there aren’t really that many rules to serve as your guide for doing things. So you make up your own as you go along. However there is one particular set of social media marketing rules you need to live by early on. These will make sure that you’ll not only survive but thrive as well.

Wherever you are in your B2B social marketing campaign right now, never break any of the following:

1. Engage THROUGH social media, not ON social media.  It’s a bit surprising how a lot of folks in marketing tend to forget the tools they’re using are only a means to an end. Social media is no exception. Anyone who understands marketing well enough knows it all boils down to communicating value. Social media is simply one more place where you let this happen. Build social media strategies that are in line with your overall marketing goals — not the other way around!

2. ‘Response’ and ‘interaction’ are two different things.  Let’s get something straight about social media marketing, particularly in the B2B setting. Social media isn’t a direct response vehicle. Although it can provide you with ‘unprecedented interaction’, it’s almost always going to fall short on generating measurable marketing results right away. That’s why it’s just better off building your brand and reputation over time and nothing more.

3. It’s not the sum but the parts that matter most.  What do numbers such as Likes on your fan page or how many Twitter followers you have tell you? They just give you totals — which aren’t really the complete story. If you want to accurately gauge how well your social campaign is doing, you have to dig deeper than what these headline numbers say. You need to look at other social metrics that offer some insights into the reach, engagement, and influence you have on social media.

4. Educate yourself first before your audience.  Or, put in another way, don’t try to be smarter than you really are. Yes, social media is where you cement your reputation as a thought leader, but that won’t happen through peddling half-baked ideas or relying merely on superficial knowledge. Become an expert; don’t just pretend to be one.

5. Being inconsistent is a mortal sin.  Nothing triggers alarm bells in your prospects’ minds more quickly than a lack of consistent personality in your social media presence. Without an identifiable personality, you’re going to have a hard time building trust and engagement with your social media efforts. So, be sure to have a consistent voice and branding in every social platform you use — and stick with it.

6. Get a handle on self-promotion or get out.  The 80/20 Rule in social media marketing states that you should be spending 80% of your time on social media sharing non-promotional content and 20% for self-promotion. Take this to heart and don’t have it the other way, unless you want to become blacklisted on social media communities.

7. Also pay attention to what you’re not doing.  In social media marketing, the things you’re NOT doing also have a huge impact on your campaign’s results. There will always be one more tactic you should be using, one more comment you should respond to, one more call-to-action that needs refining, etc. This is why it requires some serious commitment on your part.

So, there you have it — seven fundamental rules you should adhere to at all times in B2B social media marketing. How you to translate these guidelines into actionable tactics is up to you. Just be sure they’re all there in your social media playbook.