I have found that the best platforms for small business social media marketing, particularly businesses selling professional services, are LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.
I'll explain why I particularly like these three for B2B social media in a seperate post, but the focus of this post is four common mistakes I see many small businesses make in all three of these platforms, all of which negatively impact your social media lead generation capabilities.
The common mistake I see many businesses make on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook is not following B2B social media best practices in each of these areas:
1) Page profile
2) Type of content being posted
3) Frequency of posts
4) Use of links within the posts
Let's look at each of these in detail.
1. Page Profile
To optimize your page profile for lead conversion, it needs to include these five elements:
Your company's brand
An explanation of who you are
An explanation of what you do
The unique value you provide your customers
A link to your website
Ideally, your brand (logo, imagery, tagline, etc) is consistent wherever it is used - i.e., your website, Twitter profile, LinkedIn page, etc. Consumers expect a seamless experience, and one step in this direction is ensuring that each customer touch-point looks and feels the same. Brand consistency serves to strengthen your message and build trust.
Many businesses either don't include these five elements in their profiles or they fail to execute them consistently across platforms. This creates an unprofessional impression and does not compel the visitor to click further.
Speaking of clicking, don't include links in your profile that take the visitor away from your page. For example, I see many businesses putting hashtags in their Twitter profile. Including hashtags can distract visitors, and if they click on the it the link takes them away from your site. Not good.
B2B Social Media Best Practice Bonus Tip
Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn all allow you to ‘pin’ a post to the top of your profile or home page so that each time someone visits they see this post.
Find out which of your posts is performing the best and ‘pin’ it to the top of your page. Here's how:
Here's how to pin a tweet on Twitter
Open up the Twitter Profile Page.
Choose the Tweet you would like to Pin.
Click on the three dots at the bottom of the Tweet.
Select “Pin to your profile page”.
The Tweet will now automatically appear at the top of Page.
Here's how to pin a post to the top of your Facebook Timeline
Go to the post you want to pin on your Page's Timeline.
Click the arrow in the top-right corner.
Select "Pin to Top".
Your pinned post will move to the top of your Page's Timeline
Your pinned post will stay at the top of your Page's Timeline for 7 days. After that, it'll return to the date it was published on your Page's Timeline.
Note: You can't pin a post on your personal Timeline, only an account that you manage, such as your businesses Facebook page.
Here's how to pin a post to the top of your LinkedIn page
If you're a Company Page administrator, you can pin an update to the top of your Company Page’s "Recent Updates" section.
Post a company update or find an existing update on the Company Page that you want to pin.
Click the "Pin to top" link under the update.
To unpin your company's update, click "Unpin", under the specific update.
Note: An update can be pinned to the top for up to 14 days from the original posting date.
2. Type of Content Being Posted
Share industry content that is relevant, meaningful, and valuable to your target audience, and make sure it's appropriate for the social media platform.
The biggest mistake I see is businesses that publish the exact same piece of content across each platform.
It’s okay to post the same message or theme, even simultaneously, but don’t post it verbatim.
Each social media platform is different – catering to different types of people, different types of content consumption, and different types of interaction, among other differences.
A 140 character post obviously works best for Twitter because this is what it was designed for, but Facebook and LinkedIn accommodate, and expect, much more in-depth and detailed posts.
Whereas Twitter, is more like a cocktail party, inviting people to share what’s happening in the moment, and the speed and immediacy of Twitter rewards brevity, LinkedIn and Facebook are more about thought leadership and telling stories, respectively, and the time and attention span of the people on these networks lends itself to more detail.
If you've just published a blog entry and you want to promote it across multiple platforms, take the time - and it doesn't take that long - to edit your social media post for what each platform accommodates.
3. Frequency of Posts
How often you publish depends upon what network you are on.
Twitter, at minimum, is several times a day.
Facebook is about telling stories, so posts should be less frequent but well crafted; a couple time per week or once or twice a day, at most.
LinkedIn is about driving engagement. Posting unique, content daily is appropriate.
The most common mistake I see here is under-posting, especially on Twitter. The sheer volume of tweets often looks like a waterfall of posts in your Twitter feed. Posting a couple times a day is not going to make much of an impression. You need volume. So, you either have someone who is dedicated to tweeting on an ongoing basis, or you subscribe to one of the many tools that allow you to bulk upload and automate the scheduling of your tweets.
It is also possible to under-publish on Facebook and LinkedIn as well, but if you are creating content on a consistent basis this is not so much an issue as long as you always remember to post the content across all your platforms when you create it. What I see more often is the opposite, businesses that are simultaneously publishing their tweets on Facebook and LinkedIn, the result of which is too many posts on these networks, and most of the time the content is inappropriate because the person didn't take the time to appropriately edit the content for the platform.
4. The Use of Links
If your content is relevant, useful, and timely people are going to react to it - they are going to reply, share, and sometimes click through to learn more about what you have to offer.
Many posts, especially on Twitter, don't include links, or if they do it links to a page on your website unrelated to the actual post, such as the home page instead of a dedicated landing page. Or, the post includes links to other people's content, e.g., the article that you may be posting about.
The point of social media is, of course, to be social. To share content and engage with other people on a regular and consistent basis. But, you can't forget, or overlook, the fact that each posts is a potential marketing vehicle, a Call-to-Action for someone to link to your website, or better yet, a landing page specific to the theme of the post.
You don’t have to put a link in every time, but if you you are creating something valuable you need to be linking to it. Do not miss the opportunity to use links in posts to drive to a landing page with a relevant Offer or content.
So there you have it, four common mistakes I see many small businesses make across Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, all of which supress your social media lead generation capabilities. If you'd like to read up on what you should be doing with your social media, check out this excellent post: Three Social Media Goals for Small Businesses & How to Achieve Them.
To learn how to optimize every aspect of your businesses' lead conversion practices, get our free guide: