B2B vs. B2C Social Media

Posted: May 29, 2009 in Guest Blog, PR, Public Relations, Social Media, Twitter
Tags: , , , ,

Guest Post By Amanda Fontaine

As someone who works on social media for a B2B company, I often find myself daydreaming about how much “easier” it would be work on social media for a consumer product.  Consumer companies seem to “get it” when it comes to social media and in my daydreams, there is no battle to convince leadership that social media is crucial to the business, everyone just sits around Twittering the day away.

Well I finally woke up! Social media is just starting to pick up steam in the B2B industry and there is huge opportunity to be trailblazers to build a brand and drive sales. Yes B2B initiatives may be a little more…. dry.  Who am I kidding, some products are just mind numbingly boring, but who cares? Not your customers.  Your customers only care about their business problems and how to solve them, and even the most seemingly boring product plays a vital role in something, or it wouldn’t exist.  It’s the B2B companies that are helping solve critical business challenges and social media is a great way to highlight this.  Your hands may be tied when it comes to your corporate web site (which is usually marketing speak to the max), but your Facebook Business Page or Twitter account is a more informal, relaxed way to have a dialogue about industry trends, pain points and when appropriate highlight a solution.  Your customers will appreciate the opportunity to talk with you and not be “talked at.”

B2B marketers also have the luxury of having a more engaged audience.  General consumers are fickle.  Brand loyalty does play a role in decision making, but let’s face it, in these economic times, I’m buying the dish detergent that is on sale.  B2B sales, whether its software or industrial equipment, is usually a significant investment for companies and requires installation or training of some kind, and these companies aren’t likely to jump from vendor to vendor on a whim. Giving customers another outlet to communicate with your company directly helps build the relationship and gives the marketing and sales team information that you maybe wouldn’t have access to without this channel of communication.

It may be easier to make the connection on how consumer brands can leverage social media, but there is a huge opportunity for those in the B2B space to do great things to help build the brand and drive sales.

Amanda Is A PR/Marketing Specialist in the Greater Boston Area.  She’s a Fan of Social Media, PR, and Marketing Strategies that Make Sense.

  1. David says:

    You are quite right, using social media to market to businesses is nothing like being in the consumer world.

    I’m in the same position as well & I know that not many clients or potential clients are even using Facebook, Twitter etc. during their workday. Even if they wanted to, they are often locked out of those sites by IT – heck I am myself!

    Obviously this will change in time as people learn more and youger people arrive in businesses, but we don’t have time to hang around and wait.

    So what’s the answer? In my case I know that clients have problems to solve and I know they use Google to find solutions. So a lot of my focus is on getting good stories on the biz blog and making them easy to find in Google. I use the blog to promote the use of social media as well.

    So far this is working well – the blog is proving to be a good source of business and I can engage the progresive people who use social networks when I get the chance. Challenging? Yes, but also fun bringing new ideas to businesses.

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