Content Marketing

5 Reasons Why Social Media Is NOT Helping Your Content Marketing Results

5 Reasons Why Social Media Is NOT Helping Your Content Marketing Results

So here’s a question for you. How can B2B marketers be so gung-ho about content marketing, but still seem so lukewarm on social media? Isn’t social media the “marketing” in content marketing? Or is content marketing just about creating relevant and helpful content that you then blast to your email list, push via your website, and hand off to the lead generation networks?

In my experience, B2B marketers still rely way too much on their in-house mailing list to turn content marketing into downloads, subscriptions, and registrations. The result? Few, if any, “net new leads”. Sure, lead scores go up for those in the database that engage with your content and that’s a good thing. I’m a big believer in lead nurturing and fresh, relevant content helps with that, but still… where are the net new leads?

You can solve the problem by going the paid media route. Online publications, lead generation networks, and paid search need good offers to engage their audiences to generate leads for you. But it’s going to cost $20 to $100 per lead depending on the profile of your target audience. All is good if you have the marketing budget for paid media. But wasn’t “earned media” supposed to offer another way? What happened to leveraging social media to boost your content marketing results?

Here are 5 reasons why B2B marketers are failing to generate content marketing results with social media (and what you can do about it):

1.     Low quality social media channels.  Have you ever looked through your company’s Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and LinkedIn fans and followers? Maybe you’ve engaged lots of folks but don’t be shocked when you find that very few (less than 5%) will get your sales (or PR) team excited. It’s not your fault; it’s just that you’ve been focused on growing the size, not quality, of your social audience. No wonder you’re not generating clicks or downloads from your social channels! How can you when few if any are qualified prospects?

How to fix? Focus on quality not quantity when it comes to your social channels

Recommended for YouWebcast: Sales and Marketing Alignment: 7 Steps To Implement Effective Sales Enablement

2.     Not producing enough content.  If you generate quality content on a consistent basis, the SEO and social sharing benefits start kicking in big time. No question there. That’s why your blog should be the hub of your social media strategy. But anyone that’s tried to keep the company blog afloat already knows it’s really hard to do. Not to mention you’ve got all the other marketing work waiting for you. Is the solution to round up executives and employees as content contributors? Good luck with that…

How to fix? Invest in dedicated content resources otherwise you won’t move the needle.

3.     Don’t know the numbers.  Ask any B2B marketer worth their salt how many monthly leads they generate, what they pay per lead, the average email open and click rates… and they’ve got the numbers down cold! Ask instead about top Twitter followers, best performing blog posts, number of social media clicks, and which hot prospects engage on social media… and they’re not so sure. Who was it that said, “What you measure gets results”?

How to fix? Set goals for your social media efforts (shares, clicks, conversions) and start measuring progress.

4.     Not clear who owns social media results. Who’s in charge of engaging prospects, customers, and influencers on social media? Is it the B2B marketer, the PR agency, the social media manager, the part-time college intern, or maybe the individual sales reps? Everyone, no one, not sure? Hopefully, it’s someone that truly understands the target buyers and is focused on lead generation. But probably not.

How to fix? Don’t delegate social media results. Even if someone else does the work, you still need to own the goals and the outcome.

5.     Not leveraging social insights for content development.  What’s the process for developing new content? Too often the marketing team comes up with ideas on its own, without taking into account what’s happening on social media. For example, wouldn’t it be interesting to know what content your prospects are sharing and talking about on social media (right now)? Wouldn’t that influence what content you create? Sure it would! Simply put, social listening is critical for B2B marketers.

How to fix? Invest in social monitoring tools, follow your top prospects and customers, and listen for more than just “brand” mentions. 

So what’s the good news?

Fixing even one of these problems can transform your content marketing results. Not overnight, but over time. So what are you waiting for?

Now it’s your turn.

Which of these reasons if most impacting your content marketing results? Have other reasons that failing at social media is hurting your content marketing? Feel free to share!

Want an example of social insights? Check out the report: How Digital Marketers Engage on Twitter

  Discuss This Article

Comments: 9

  • Hey Carter, we believe that if anybody is doing business in today’s world, there’s no escaping to this fact that they need to be interacting with their audience on a consistent basis. We at Tangerine Digital ( make sure that the conversation of Audience and Company is going and growing. The points you provided for the businesses need to know that what actually goes wrong in Social Media and how to rectify them are very informative.
    Thank you so much.
    Team Tangerine Digital

  • I liked 5. Not leveraging social insight for content development. A good collaboration tool can really help here to get everyone on the same page for what content to market. We use Conversites for content collaboration, google docs for document storage and salesforce for automation

  • Completely agree with #1. Sometimes people get sucked into chasing the wrong metrics, such as twitter followers, re-tweets, shares, etc. Although good and important ways to spread visability, they don’t always translate into quality leads. For example, would you rather have 5,000 followers where most of them are not in your industry and never interact with you, or would you have 500 quality thought leaders within your industry that interact with you. The choice seems obvious, but sometimes we forget that. It’s definitely more about quality rather than quality when it comes to social media. Great post!

  • I strongly agree with all of the 5 key points and especially with 1,3 and 5. Leveraging and knowing the analytical data is essential not to just evaluate how did your last post perform but to know how to improve the process to get better at it with every new post that actually is worth-reading by the mass. A little research before writing up the content can lead you to understand which style to take while writing.

  • Hi Carter,

    You make some very good points.

    There was a time when people, including me, just built the biggest networks we could. It was what people did, and we had fun doing it. But somewhere along the way, we missed the turn for developing relationships with them. Oops.

    It seems to me that the key to doing all of the things that you suggest is to develop an online marketing strategy – one that takes into account your five points and, most importantly, spells out how they will all be implemented, monitored, and measured.

    What struck me particularly about your article was just how disjointed the online marketing functions seem to be in companies.

    Somehow, they’ve got to get past all that departmentalism and internal competition, and learn to work together.

  • I think that online marketing, in general, is still a hit-or-miss thing for many for the simple reason that you have stated in item #5: Social Listening. Many who are still trying to figure out why their content or social media effort don’t simply convert to the customers they have in mind are still stuck with the idea that marketing is all about Me, Myself, and I.. so they continuously engage in a monologue that’s either too tiring to hear or that no one really cares about (or both). Then, there are those who are clueless on how to interpret data on analytics to help them use it to produce the right message at the right time and place.. for the right people. So, the vicious cycle goes on.

  • Thanks for the insight Carter. I definitely agree with your fix to producing content (to invest in dedicated content resources); sometimes it can be difficult to produce information that customers are interested in reading, and that would drive them to action. A possible solution that I might add in addition to dedicated content resources is the use of a Q&A platform for customer service or just for general questions a client might have. The questions that customers ask can be analyzed and turned into content that a business already knows potential clients are interested in because they’re asking about it. Some Q&A providers are Answerbase, Qhub, and Shapado. I personally work with Answerbase, and they have clients utilizing their system specifically in this fashion.

  • assigning ownership is key. Just having everyone and anyone responding on behalf of you company is a recipe for disaster. Not to mention the fact that if one wrong tweet is made, managing the fall-out could be disasterous if you have multiple owners. Something you didn’t mention was having an SMO policy/SOP. The above suggestions are good, but with our a roadmap or some kind of framework for your SMO, you’ll be a ship without a rutter.

Add a New Comment

Thank you for adding to the conversation!

Our comments are moderated. Your comment may not appear immediately.