B2B Marketing for the Social Media Beginner
Marketing and social media go together like milk and cookies. Marketing is designed to package whatever we’re selling in the most attractive light possible, and social media provides the inviting, user-friendly platform for doing so. We use social media to essentially market ourselves, so it works just as well for business. But there are different types of businesses that require slightly different approaches to social media marketing. Below, we compare B2C with B2B marketing practices, and how each should use a different strategy.
B2C vs. B2B SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGY:
Business-to-consumer (B2C) companies, “sell products to end-user consumers”. Business-to-business (B2B) companies sell products to other businesses. If you’re selling software, hardware, SaaS, medical devices, CRM systems….or basically, things that aren’t easily understandable for the average person or used daily by the average consumer, you’ve got some extra marketing challenges. But that’s where the real fun lies in B2B marketing! Instead of thinking, “the content I can post is so limited since my product is complex and expensive”, think “the content I can post is limitless because my product is not restricting me to one consumer good!”
B2C STRATEGY EXAMPLE:
Let’s use an example. Bob is the owner of the store, Bob’s Bakery. He sells cookies, cakes and pastries. He is running a B2C company with a product that anyone can understand. His products (AKA pastries) sell themselves by simply looking delicious. His marketing strategy is very straight-forward: take a picture of his new baked goods every morning and post it on social media. Near the end of the day, he might do a “2 for 1” special to help sell the goods before they become stale.
To follow the 80/20 rule of business, Bob mixes up his self-promotional posts with related articles about baking, baking equipment, baking events, etc. He’s directly connecting with the customers he sees regularly through social media. He thinks social media marketing is pretty darn easy.
B2B STRATEGY EXAMPLE:
Now let’s say that your B2B company sells computer hardware, with an average deal size of $10,000. You log on to your Facebook company page and think, “um...should I post a picture of our hardware?” Somehow it seems a lot more likely that people will take a second glance at Bob’s fresh cheese danish over your hardware. And a lot more likely that they’ll walk down the street to spend three dollars on it, rather than $10,000 on computer hardware.
This is true. They probably will.
And this is exactly why you get to be more creative than ever before.
HOW TO CREATE CONTENT FOR B2B SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING:
- Leverage All of Your Vertical Markets: What are all the different markets or industries that your customers are in? Maybe you sell to a semiconductor company, a computer software company and a banking company. This means you can create content tailored to each of those industries - which gives you a lot more variety in your content.
- Think Conceptually: Unlike Bob, you can’t post a picture of your hardware and assume it’s going to wow your prospects into purchasing. Instead, focus on prospect pain points and how to visually communicate those pain points. Or, focus on your product’s benefits and how it changes people’s lives. For example, maybe your hardware helps computers process very quickly. Instead of using the computer hardware image from above, try:
Help people see how your product is going to benefit them.
- Educate and Persuade Your Audience: Bob’s pastries do the persuading for him. They sell themselves by being simple and delicious. Maybe your product can sell itself, but if people can’t understand its value at first glance, it has lost its chance. So start by posting articles (or writing blog posts) that dissect the most common pain points of your vertical industries. Maybe your product solves a problem that prospects don’t even recognize they have. Educate them, and then persuade them as to why your product is the solution. We use the educate and persuade methodology in our own Consensus demo.
- Use #hashtags to target your posts to certain audiences. For example, if you’re targeting the banking industry, add “#banking” or “#banks” to your post. This helps posts get more exposure in the right areas.
- Share other peoples’ work: articles, funny stories, infographics, etc. because it helps you get noticed and people like having their work appreciated and shared.
- Post helpful content: Remember the 80/20 rule of business - especially in the B2B world, nothing is more boring than repeated self-promotional content about topics few can relate with.
Lastly, social media serves as a great way to show your company culture and personality. Keep your content entertaining, light, playful and educational to ensure the biggest audience!