As with any marketing tactic success in social media marketing depends on strategy and execution. B2B buyers are information seekers who are influenced by the views of others. Social media gives prospects an opportunity to interact with existing customers, see how you solve customer issues and follow your thought leadership. The transparency social media brings to conversations means that social media marketing aligns well with the goal of the B2B marketer, which is to influence the purchasing journey.
Why is using social media for B2B marketing a valuable tactic?
Social media for B2B marketing is more important for B2Bs that it is for B2Cs. Why? B2B have a greater requirement to build relationships with buyers and social media marketing is geared toward building relationships.
B2B purchases can cost thousands if not millions. B2B buyers are investing this money on behalf of their businesses and their reputation is on the line. “Nobody ever got fired for buying IBM” is a catchphrase that sums this up perfectly. Buyers need to invest in brands they can trust. B2B social media marketing isn’t about generating followers, it’s about building that trust.
Social media marketing can distribute content, share thought leadership and engage in conversations. Through all these tactics the organization is able to show authority and transparency.
Social media marketing can help build a brand but it can also help sales individuals. Social selling is a tactic being adopted by sales and is focused on building individual 1:1 relationships between sellers and buyers.
B2B social media isn’t just about generating sales. It can also support existing customers. Introducing support forums allows users to support each other, provide visible answers to common problems and is much more cost-effective than traditional support channels. Social media has made how organization support their existing customers a spectator sport.
What are some of the differences between social media marketing for B2B and B2C markets?
Content is different – B2B marketers need to focus on building authority and trust, often using informative content. It’s unlikely B2B marketing content will go viral. B2C content is more casual and often humor driven.
Channel priority is different – Social media in B2B marketing is often focused on LinkedIn. For reaching a business audience, or sales prospecting LinkedIn can’t be beaten. In the B2C world, Facebook wins every time. However, as B2B marketers we need to remember that behind every B2B buyer is a consumer.
Measuring success – In any B2B marketing initiative the aims are to build awareness, generate demand and deliver leads. One reason social media marketing is often overlooked in B2B is the difficulty in seeing the measurable impact a LinkedIn post or Tweet has on lead generation. More followers and growing your audience works in B2C, in B2B it’s pipeline that wins the day.