A staggering 86% of B2B firms use social media, according to BizReport . Further, B2B marketing spending on social networking sites is predicted to rise 43.3% in 2010 according to eMarketer.  Based on these statistics, the use of B2B social media for marketers is not only advised, it’s a requirement.

The problem with this is most B2B firms misunderstand social or end up implementing tactics without any strategy. To fully utilize the power of social media, these firms need to understand some of the basic reasons why they fail and how to solve their problems.  Once they comprehend what strategies work and why others don’t, only then will they get on the right path for success.

To get a full grasp of why most B2B social media marketing fails and what it takes to resolve it, let’s look at some of the problems and solutions below:

Lack of Engagement Strategy

Many B2B companies understand creating content, syndicating content from places like B2B blogs and following up with prospects, but many lack an engagement strategy. To become successful with B2B social media, you must engage with prospects and customers from day one or they may be drawn to a competitor who does understand the value of engagement. It takes more than opening accounts on LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook.  It takes an overall strategy to listen and build relationships with prospects and customers – and not just for the sale.

Solution Build an engagement strategy; listen to conversations going online; interact and create personal conversations with customers. Instead of always pushing out content, ask questions or comment on others comments on places customers and prospects live.

Misunderstanding Time Requirements

B2B social media success isn’t achieved overnight and those who expect this will likely fail. Even for fully optimized campaigns, it may take many months to see a positive return.

SolutionDon’t just create an optimized B2B social media plan; allow it ample time to achieve its goals. Set expectations at the start by forecasting realistic results – and provide an updated analytics report to key stakeholders monthly to evaluate progress.

Relying Purely on Social

Social media isn’t everything – it’s part of a holistic B2B marketing plan. No matter the amount of planning or engagement, a mix of both traditional and social media marketing will produce the greatest returns.

SolutionConsider combining approaches for traditional and new media and break down the silos of your marketing. Share data in both directions, maintain consistency across communications efforts and ensure marketing teams work together.

By fully engaging with prospects, allowing ample time for results and combining traditional with social strategies in B2B marketing, B2B business will find success with their social media initiatives.

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