There’s no denying the success of social media marketing. That’s why 83% of marketers indicate that it’s an important part of their business’ marketing strategy [Social Media Examiner].
While the benefits of social media marketing practically speak for themselves, most social media marketing still comes from B2C companies, which leaves us wondering why B2B is lagging behind.
There are undeniable differences between the way B2B and B2C social media marketing works, but if it’s done right, it can be just as (if not more) effective in B2B.
1. Content for Social Media Marketing
No matter whether you operate in B2B or B2C markets, the content you share on social channels should provide value to the reader. By providing your customer with value, you will position your business as a thought leader in the industry, and stay at the top of their mind when they come to make a purchasing decision.
The type of content and how it is delivered should however be vastly different between B2B and B2C businesses.
B2C businesses tend to focus heavily on blog content around sharable topics. B2C marketers also leverage the power of visual content, such as videos, infographics and eye-catching images, which are always more likely to be shared In most cases B2C messaging is also more casual, and humour is used to further engage the audience.
When it comes to Social Media content, B2B marketers should focus on more “professional” types of content such as white papers, eBooks, case studies and webinars. While this content can be more labour-intensive to produce, it has proven to be much more effective at generating leads for B2B marketers.
It’s important to bear in mind that although B2B content is written in a more serious tone, on more formal topics, it should be presented in a way that is easy to digest, for example by using appropriate visuals, and breaking up long paragraphs of text with bullet points.
2. Social Media Channels
From Pinterest to Instagram, Vine and YouTube, there are social media channels for pretty much every industry niche. With such a wide variety of channels to choose from, it’s important to find the one that’s right for your business.
B2C Social Media Channels
B2C Marketers tend to favour Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube for distributing their content, with Facebook being most commonly used channel in the B2C market. Facebook is the ideal platform for creating a community around the brand, which can result in sales as 77% of B2C companies claim they’ve acquired a customer through the channel [State of Inbound Marketing, 2012]. Twitter works for high visibility and regular communication, and Instagram and YouTube are effective for visual content and personalising B2C brands.
B2B Social Media Channels
B2B marketers should typically focus on three social networks: Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. LinkedIn is by far the most important social network for today’s B2B marketer as it facilitates contact with professionals and business buyers. By utilising LinkedIn, B2B marketers can increase brand awareness, establish thought leadership and generate leads. Discussion Groups are also ideal for content distribution, as long as that content doesn’t seem overly promotional. Facebook for B2B is great for brand building, while Twitter remains ideal for getting content out to the masses.
3. Social Media Marketing Goals
The final aim of the campaign is one of the main differences between B2B and B2C Social Media Marketing. B2C Social Media marketers tend to measure their success on community engagement and awareness, while B2B marketers focus more on lead generation.
B2C Social Media Marketing Goals
Social Media is a key method of attracting and engaging B2C target audiences. The main goals of B2C Social Media Marketing are to raise brand awareness and enter the consumer’s buying consideration set. In order to do this, B2C Marketers use Social Media to personalise the brand. By giving the company a human face, Social Media enables B2C businesses to interact directly with their customers to support sales and handle customer service issues.
B2B Social Media Marketing Goals
Social Media can be a powerful tool for B2B lead generation. After creating interesting content for your target audience, you can use your social media channels to promote it to people who are interested, which in turn creates potential leads. Twitter is the ideal platform for sharing content as it reaches a wide audience, while LinkedIn is a business-focused social network, so it’s usually a source of very qualified leads.
A well thought out Social Media Marketing strategy that is tailored to your audience, business and industry is key to a successful campaign, whether you operate in the B2B or B2C sector. Speak to The Lead Agency for more information on improving your B2B Social Media.