B2B (Business to business) marketing and sales programs represent big budgets here (US) and abroad, but often not seen by the “masses” (hence the name). B2C (Business to Consumer) is more visible, popular – and part of the common marketplace. Therefore, B2C marketing is more seen, or better known. When you add strategies like social media marketing to the mix, it can often be “easier” to create campaigns around the B2C marketplaces. Not only because they are bigger, but they often have a faster, wider adoption. How cool is it to create social media campaigns for Sony Pictures, versus an unknown brand like this ugly website/company? (generally speaking).
If the work is not as much fun, more challenging and speed to market (recognition) is slower, should you dismiss Social Media Marketing for B2b’s?
Then ask these questions: how open are you to change your ways? Are you a dynamic, techno-drivenVP with big hopes for social media, but nobody to back you up? This should help.
Social Media Overview:
- More than 133 million blogs indexed since 2002
- More than 10 million users create 1,500 new tweets every second
- Facebook user growth for the 35+ demographic, grown to 12 million users in the 1st quarter of 2009
#1 Create high-touch, open communication with direct interfacing with customers and foster new relationships
Let your people grow with social media. Create a social media guide book, and let them “free”. Create corporate pages and profiles, and come out from behind the “faceless” organization.
#2 Online conversation monitoring
Use tools like Twitter, Google, Facebook – and watch for trends, changes in your marketplaces, and pick out needs that you can fill (new products, new ideas, etc).
#3 LinkedIn and other professional communities
Join LinkedIn.com, and join groups and the conversations. Start your own community on places like Ning.com, for example. Build your brand, prospects and reputation. Hire an online community manager (or start smaller).
#4 Leverage reputation
Using social media will/can help your reputation, and bring 3rd party testimonials to you – which will help on reducing risk for high ticket B2B purchases.
#5 Authority & Leadership
Using social media shows you as not only an action taker in this arena, but can quickly display you as a thought-leader as well. Your company’s recognition, demand and reach in the market can/will increase.
#6 Cost Effectiveness
Social media is not free, but the time you invest is well spent, if done correctly. Consider hiring a professional to help you. The cost of sales via social media can be significantly lower. While ROI can be hard to quantify, a relationship that speaks highly of you is not.
#7 Strengthen the sales cycles
The B2B industries are known for long sales cycles, higher ticket items, and certainly not impulse-driven. The user mindset is one of research and comparison.
When comparing vendors further down in their “funnel”, social media can help to solidify you as the final choice. Education around products and services can be made available, and spread into your communities via SMM. You will become the choice provider, engaged and authoritative. How can you beat that?
Are you socially engaged? It’s not just having a profile or two, but to be actively engaged, and provide value and insights that can beat our your competition, and win over new customers.
The answer is “no”. Do not dismiss social media, or you’ll be left behind.
Related articles to B2B social media
- Understanding B2B Social Media Through Infographics (toprankblog.com)
- What’s missing from your social media playbook? (mikemoran.com)
- Social Media – Leads via LinkedIn Groups Most Likely to Convert : MarketingProfs Article [del.icio.us] (marketingprofs.com)