- Random actions, frustration, no results…what’s the solution?

Social Media FrustrationI’m starting this post with some musing…pardon me if I sound esoteric, but you’ll see the point I’m making here.

I saw a blue feather float by on my walk last evening. Reminded me of the famous book, Illusions—The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah. Towards the end of this masterpiece, the Messiah says to the narrator:

“Well, Richard, we’re magnets, aren’t we? Not magnets. We’re iron, wrapped in copper wire, and whenever we want to magnetize ourselves we can. Pour our inner voltage through the wire, we can attract whatever we want to attract. A magnet is not anxious about how it works. It is itself, and by its nature it draws some things and leaves others untouched. …What is takes is imagination. …Where your thinking is, there is your experience. …find friends by being who you are.”

They talk some more and the Messiah challenges Richard to imagine something. He chooses a blue feather surrounded in golden light, waits all day to see it and finally spots it on a milk carton. He’s thrilled, but the Messiah shrugs and says to him, “If you want to be with what you’re magnetizing, you have to put yourself in the picture too. Sorry I didn’t say that. ”

I have never forgotten that line, “find friends by being who you are”. What Richard Bach wrote in 1977 is still true in 2012. So to all you B2B marketers out there—forget what social media “experts” may be telling you about finding more friends on Facebook and getting more Likes. Instead:

  • Be who you are
  • Communicate why you are different
  • Share your thinking and your experience
  • Be imaginative and `magnetize’ yourself to attract your prospects and customers
  • And don’t forget to `put yourself in the picture’; i.e. be relevant to your audience
  • Above all, stop broadcasting and start communicating

If B2B organizations are frustrated with social media, what’s the solution? Is there one? I certainly think there is.

Stop Being Overwhelmed with Social Media—Learn to Use the Right Tools

  • Create a strategy for `magnetization’. Most B2B marketers are just simply overwhelmed with social media and that leads to frustration. If your organization is in this boat, it’s time to revisit all that you have been doing to sort through what’s working and what’s not. If your CEO gets LinkedIn invites from top executives in your customer / prospect pool, by all means continue to network on this platform. Just practice good LinkedIn etiquette, that’s all. If tweeting every day isn’t doing anything to engage your audience in meaningful conversations, stop wasting your time with it. You need a cohesive social media marketing strategy, the right set of tools to deliver your objectives and the knowledge/skills on how to use these tools. And while an outside expert can help strategize, you need to keep your ear to the ground, listen to customer speak and add value to your audience’s time spent on social media channels.

As this chart shows, organizations offer all kind of excuses not to have a social media strategy, and as a result, most don’t even know what is being said about their company online.

Social Media Strategy

  • If you try to sell, you won’t. That is guaranteed. People are tired of being sold to all the time. When they want to buy, they will start with searching for interesting information, seek out trustworthy sources, look for reliable partners and when they are ready to buy, THEY will make that call. So for example; your B2B recruitment agency has an eye-catching Facebook campaign running. You’ve got some very creative videos on YouTube. It’s possible you will generate some ripples in the marketplace that may transform over time into leads. But for heaven’s sake, don’t ask your Facebook fans to “engage us to fill your positions before June 31st and you’ll get two new hires for the price of one.” Ridiculous, right? It’s true; I’ve seen it! Why on earth should a company contact you for recruitment if they have no positions to fill at this point?
  •  Canned responses do nothing. Remember my story about my Moon Dust DNA watch? Manuel Emch, the CEO of Romain Jerome, the watch company responded to my Facebook comment within 9 hours. He could very well have left it to his marketing department and I may likely have received a canned response or none at all. But top down, this company cares and they not shy of saying it. These are lessons that B2B marketers can learn from the B2C world—if you love your customers, show it. There’s always a payback at some point, even if it is not measured in sales and revenue.
  • Do things in the spirit of social media. Negative remarks and comments are natural phenomena. There’s nothing to be shy or wary of. Keep with the spirit of social media—be open, honest, accessible—you can’t go far by quashing negative feedback or criticism. It will walk out from under the carpet and that will make things worse. As I’ve said before, when someone is angry and emotional enough to share their feedback, even if it is not what you want to hear, it means they are “engaged” and you now have the opportunity to turn their bad experience into a better one.
  • Find that not-so-common sense! What lessons have you learned from traditional marketing? When you are face to face with a prospective buyer, how do you catch her attention and steer it in the right direction? How do you start a conversation with a customer, but then let her or him do the talking? Why is it important to network and socialize without putting people off with your overbearing, pushy, sales talk? Where do your customers go when they are looking for information? Which online sources and social media sites do they visit?

These pertinent questions can give you useful insights into how prospects expect your organization to behave in the social media space and what results your B2B lead generation activities can bring.

What methods has your company adopted to avoid getting frustrated by social media? Please share your thoughts.