You’ve probably noticed that most of what you’ll read about Social Media is B2C-focused, not B2B. Most of the B2B social media articles are extremely general. In fact, if you took the words “business-to-business” out of most of them, they would be the exact same articles that you’ve read about B2C social media.
But does that make sense? Shouldn’t B2B social media be different from B2C?
In my experience, they are absolutely different. Here are seven ways that’s true:
7 Ways Business-to-Business Social Media Marketing Is Different
1. More Targeted
Targeting is extremely important to B2B marketing. Typically, you’re looking at a much smaller potential customer audience than for B2C marketing. Wide open marketing doesn’t help. Marketers who don’t know how to pinpoint-select your prospects may not be able to help you. You need a provider who can research each social website’s targeting database to see how well it fits your specific business. The first part of my Social Media strategy consulting is to discuss your audience and goals. That shapes much of the rest of this process.
2. Different Social Websites
Each social network has different targeting options. These may work better or worse depending on whether you’re doing B2B or B2C. For example, you can target job titles much more accurately with LinkedIn ads than with Facebook ads. And that means your strategy may emphasize different social sites than most B2C social media marketers do. That doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t be using Twitter or Facebook, but that your budget allocation might favor them less than a B2C campaign would.
3. More Marketing Channels
A narrower target in B2B can mean lower volume per marketing channel, so your overall internet marketing strategy often includes more marketing channels than the typical B2C campaign for the same sized company. That often means using both social media and search marketing, not one or the other.
4. More Qualification
You may use a higher degree of prospect qualification (more required fields) in your lead generation forms for B2B, to ensure your sales people don’t waste time.
5. Longer Sales Cycle
You probably have a longer sales cycle, so you need a firm long-term plan plus persistent follow through. The optimization cycle may be longer with fewer iterations. Accurate tracking from the outset is critical, since conversions may be fewer and farther between.
6. More Professional
B2B offerings can seem boring. Often the first objection social consultants run into in B2B sounds something like, “Why would anyone want to talk about my pressure regulating pipe fittings?”
We might not be able to go as far to make the offering interesting as you can with B2C, without sacrificing the professional image required for the sale. Yet Social Media works by grabbing attention and generating conversation over interesting things – so B2B social media is doomed, right? No, you just need very smart strategies that capture interest without demeaning the product.
7. More Integration with Salespeople
Usually, B2B marketing works hand-in-hand with sales. B2C social media marketing doesn’t have to worry as much about integration with sales. But in business-to-business, there’s an overlap, and you need a process that clarifies roles, increases effectiveness and keeps sales and marketing from tripping over one other.