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B2B vs. B2C Social Media Marketing: What’s the Difference? [PODCAST]

After leading the social media efforts of two nationwide grocery chains, Carlos Gil became Head of Global Social Media at BMC Software, a technology company whose products are used by 82% of the Fortune 500. While the shift from B2C to B2B might have seemed like a major challenge, it turned out not to be.

Carlos discussed the similarities and differences between B2B and B2C social media marketing in a podcast recording, and why his transition from B2C to B2B has gone smoothly.

As it turns out, there are more similarities than differences.

Understand the Benefits of Social Media to Your Organization

There is no “one size fits all” for social media. In any organization, you have to understand how social media will help the brand as a whole. Plus, you need to know how social can benefit each unit of the brand. For example, the Sales department might be most interested in generating leads, while HR might view social media as a way to attract talent.

Focus on Building Relationships and Adding Value

While the endgame may be to positively influence revenue, you shouldn’t use social media to constantly push product or drive followers into the sales funnel. You can’t focus on the outcome. Instead, know your audience and understand what they want. What information can you provide that will add value and help build a relationship? That’s where your focus should be.

Visual Content Earns More Engagement

For B2B as well as B2C, visual content typically earns the most engagement as measured by likes, shares, comments, retweets, etc. In the B2B world, you might have to think a little outside the box to come up with the images, .gifs, and videos that will capture your audience’s attention. Don’t be afraid to be creative.

Don’t Expect Overnight Success

Success in social media takes time, just as it takes time to build any relationship. For each segment of the organization you’re serving, map the steps that a prospect is likely to take on their journey. Not only will this help you track their progress, it will inform you as to what kind of content will be most relevant to them right now.

Employee Engagement at All Levels Makes a Huge Difference

From the C-Suite to the warehouse, you want employees to be involved. Leadership from the top encourages others to get involved. But, you will want to make it easy for employees to become advocates on social media by providing them with guidance and content they can easily share.

Go Where Your Audience Is

Trying to do too much is a common cause of social media burnout. Organizations that overreach their ability to manage and execute on social media by participating on too many platforms tend to do a half-good job on all of them. You’re better off focusing on the two or three social media platforms where you know your audience is. Doing a great job on a few platforms is far better than doing a mediocre job on many.

And, there is one big difference.

B2B Measures More

In B2C social media, generating engagement on social media and earning clicks back to the website might be enough. But, on B2B social media, ROI matters. Marketing directors are responsible for generating leads and demand, and no program that doesn’t add revenue is exempt from the chopping block.

That means more consideration must be given to what KPIs you measure and how you calculate the impact of social media on sales. Determining how much of a sale should be attributed to social media can be a bit of a balancing act. Organizations need to find the method that is most accurate for them.

Conclusion: Focus on the Process

B2B and B2C social media rely on the same techniques. It’s the measuring of engagement and outcomes where the two diverge.

As noted earlier, people responsible for the strategies and tactics must focus on the process, with the knowledge that if the process is well thought out and well executed, the numbers will validate it.

It’s a bit like a baseball or softball pitcher in a tight situation. While they might hope to get a strikeout from the next pitch, they can’t focus on the outcome. They have to focus on the process of throwing that pitch the best they can.

Whether you’re in B2B or B2C social media, that’s how you win.

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