B2B Social Media: Here's What a Partner Can't do
When you work with a partner for your social media, the truth is: there are things they can't do.
You can do social media right as a B2B, and you should. It’s a valuable way to reach clients where they are, at relatively low cost, and fits right into your overall inbound strategy.
Many B2B companies choose to work with a partner for their marketing. The benefits are obvious: you get access to expertise that may be too costly or inefficient to retain in-house, and you can (or should be able to) trust that they’re on the forefront of industry best practices.
But social media, done right, is not something you can just expect to entirely outsource. Your partner can certainly guide and coach you, and even help to create some of those posts — but unless you’re willing to get in there yourself, your social media efforts will be inherently stunted.
The Limitations of Partner-Based Social Media
You’re bringing a partner on to help tell you story. That’s part of what you’re paying for, right? So why are you expected to do the work?
The simple, blunt answer is that no partner — whether they’re there to help you with content or social media or sales or whatever — will be able to work at their best unless both sides understand that a partnership is not a one-way street. There are things one side brings to the table that the other can’t do. That’s the point of the partnership.
A social media partner faces inherent limitations.
- Can’t easily post updates from within the company — photos of your product in action or your production process, etc.
- Can’t post updates that illuminate and humanize your company’s day-to-day
- Can’t interact on a live basis with readers looking to delve into your expertise
- Can’t respond to negative reaction effectively
Why Do These Limitations Exist?
Okay, sure, with the right (ie: expensive) contract and immense trust, anything’s possible. A marketing partner could, technically, do this stuff. But it’s not practical, and it’s often not the best use of resources.
B2B companies typically expect to be able to approve messaging that goes out in their name. You’ve got a brand to build, and while the partner’s there to help you do it, they’re still on the outside, and they lack the perspective you have.
That’s fine when a post is to be scheduled safely in advance, but it increases the turnaround time. Social media is a fast-moving, ephemeral medium. If you want to react in real-time, to people responding to you to unexpected daily trends, you need the ability to post immediately.
And when people are expecting a response, they’re at least hoping for something a little personal, directly from the company. Again, there’s only so far a marketing partner can go in legitimately being the face of a B2B company. It’s simply going to be more effective for a client-side customer service rep or sales rep to take over.
Finally, sure, you could send your partner a bunch of photos of your business’ day-to-day life and ask for quippy write-ups of what they’re seeing. But it’s simply not practical. At the point where you’re explaining the context of all the posts you want to see, you really might as well just write the posts yourself.
Okay, So What Is Your Social Media Partner Good For?
We at Flawless Inbound do engage with our clients’ social media. We don’t just set you on your way and wish you good luck.
It starts with strategy. You need to know your efforts are going to drive results, so it’s important to know where to focus efforts, and how much you should be building your audience. And as the posting gets going, you’ll need to know how to analyze those results. What kinds of content are people responding to? Are there better times of day to post?
And of course, we will write some posts ourselves. Campaign-based social media supports your overall inbound campaigns — such as sharing news about an upcoming event or sharing a new guide or testimonial on your website. It’s also useful to continue sharing your regular content such as blog posts. We’ll also reshare older posts that are still relevant.
But we’ll also engage in social media coaching. We’ll help you understand how your internal team can use your social media channels. Which personalities are skills are a good match? Who’s going to be an effective, responsive advocate? What’s the coolest content these people can share? And how do you ensure that all this activity supports your overall inbound goals?
Want us to give you a hand with your social media? How about that overall inbound strategy to boot? Flawless Inbound is an inbound partner that’s helped 75+ B2B organizations reach their growth goals. Get started here.