Even if your business does not have a social media strategy, you are likely utilizing social media to some degree because it is free, powerful, and can be made easy. At the very least you are promoting your content via these different platforms and doing your best to form connections. However, the way in which social media should be used should actually be quite different depending upon if you are a B2B or a B2C company.
B2C versus B2B Social Media Strategy
For those who are unfamiliar, being a “B2B” company means that the target audience for your business is other businesses. A “B2C” company is a company that focuses on the community of consumers. Consider some of the differences between the needs of a buyer from a B2B and a B2C perspective and how these differences affect social media:
Simple vs. Complex Needs
B2B buyers are typically much more complex than B2C. B2C buyers usually know the type of product they want, they may want to learn a little bit about the different models or the different brands, and then they are ready to buy. B2B buyers typically have to buy more complicated products and services, and customer service will continue with a B2B buyer long after the purchase has been made. Even leading up to the purchase is more complex because businesses generally buy in bulk or sign up for a contract as opposed to just popping in a store like a B2C buyer.
What this means for social media: A B2B company is going to need to be much more serious when it comes to social media. If you’re a B2B company, make sure that you are promoting content that is informative and will educate your target audience. It is OK to mention what is happening in the news, but make sure you have a business spin to the article so that your followers and friends are constantly getting valuable information. You also want to make sure that you are always ready to respond to someone interacting through social media.
When it comes to B2C, the buyers’ needs are much simpler. This will allow a B2C company to promote deals and specials via social media. Think less educating and more selling when you’re a B2C company trying to leverage social media.
In general, B2B companies are seen as more professional and less edgy or filled with emotion. B2C buyers often make purchasing decisions based on emotion or on a whim, but B2B buyers are usually much more calculated. This is likely because when a business makes a purchase it is usually a decision that is discussed by several people and the purchase is usually large. B2C buyers are often on their own.
What this means for social media: B2C companies can often get away with putting up pictures of employees, asking questions via social media, and using emotion such as funny jokes or stories to help pull in readers. For example, highlighting a company Christmas party and focusing on the community of the office would be appropriate on a B2C type Facebook page.
B2B companies, on the other hand, need to be much more professional. Every aspect of social media should be thought out and should focus on logistics. Use statistics and let readers know why something is important. Many B2B companies also create a series of posts to help bring people back to the social media account to learn more.
B2C companies obviously have an audience that is much more involved in social media. However, this can often make it difficult for a B2C company because there is so much competition. You have to find a way to make yourself stand out in the B2C world, but you certainly have an available audience. B2B companies usually find that other companies active on social media are trying to grab customers, not necessarily strike up a relationship with another company.
What this means for social media: When leveraging social media for a B2B, you will want to really put a focus on finding startup companies or other companies in your area. While B2C can gain followers and friends fairly easily just by promoting deals and getting others to spread the word, it’s much more difficult for B2B. It’s going to be a long processing to really get loyal followers that will convert, but when this occurs it will be a bigger deal than if you were working with B2C.
Overall, social media is more difficult to utilize when working with B2B type companies. Nonetheless, it is entirely possible to make it happen. Once you know that you may move a little bit slower, you can start to really focus on quality and not quantity. Members of a B2B audience are not going to be impressed by little deals or funny quotes. Understanding that what you see from most B2C companies is a different approach than what you should be taking as a B2B company will likely help your social media success.