Should B2B Marketers use Social Differently Than B2C Marketers?Posted on 31 Mar
“Social media marketing” means different things depending on who you ask. For some, it’s a great method of providing top-notch customer service and engaging one-on-one with fans. For others, it’s all about promoting deals and products to a wide audience. And for others still, it’s just one of many tools in the sales and marketing toolbox. For many marketers, it’s all of the above and more.
But is there a clear distinction between social media marketing for B2B (business-to-business) marketers and social media marketing for B2C (business-to-consumer) marketers?
Ultimately, the answer has to do with goals. The goal of a social media marketing campaign will largely define how that campaign materializes, regardless of whether businesses or consumers are the target audience.
When it comes to B2B, the goal of marketing is often driving leads and sales. So it makes sense that social media efforts be geared towards this goal: promoting thought leadership to entice leads at the top of the funnel, or pushing gated content like ebooks and whitepapers to capture a lead and eventually convert it to a sale.
B2C, on the other hand, might not rely on social media for leads as much as for increased visibility, reach and brand awareness. Social media activities, then, will be in support of this goal: creating bite-sized, highly sharable images to increase reach, or running flash sales and campaigns to generate buzz.
However, B2B marketers have a unique opportunity on social media that B2C marketers don’t. Because a single sale in the B2B world is typically much higher in value than a sale in the B2C world, the one-on-one relationship arguably becomes even more important for B2B marketers.
This means that the sales and marketing team can use social media to develop rich relationships with the individual decision-makers they are selling to. They can connect on Twitter and share their content. They can connect on Instagram and like their photos. Or, even more powerfully, they can leverage all of these social touchpoints into a CRM platform and develop a complete picture of the likes, dislikes and lifestyle of each customer.
Of course, B2C marketers have the opportunity to develop these rich profiles as well. The only trouble is, it usually isn’t worth it – after all, if you are selling a $1.50 candy bar, the numbers just don’t add up. But if you’re selling a $10,000 software subscription, it makes sense to dedicate time and resources to integrating social data with customer profiles.
On the high, strategic level, B2B and B2C marketers will approach social media in much the same way. Both want to increase their brand’s exposure among their target audience, develop positive reputations, and generate interest in their product or service. When diving below the strategy into tactics, however, the scale shifts and B2B marketers increasingly focus on the one-to-one while B2C focuses on the one-to-many (with some key instances of one-to-one sprinkled in).