8 Reasons Why B2B Social Media is Easier than B2C

B2B B2C Easy HardAlthough social media is seldom “easy,” there are some distinct advantages that B2B companies have over B2C brands in the social media space.  Here’s a list of 8 reasons why B2B social media is easier than B2C:

1. It’s driven by relationships
B2C marketing is largely based on a product and its price. It tends to be a more impulsive or emotional buying decision than B2B. B2B purchasing decisions tend to be more involved and relationship driven, and that suits social media.

In a B2B sales cycle, businesses tend to interface directly with potential customers multiple times in order to inform and educate the prospect. Social media can play a big role in this process. Through social media you can interact with the prospect and nurture the relationship, which can ultimately influence the final purchase decision.

2. Your practices can lead to sales
Your social media practices can demonstrate your business value which can lead to purchases. Users can see that you are reliable, responsive, intelligent, etc. via your social media practices.

3. You have more control
B2B companies tend to have less people talking about their brand than B2C companies. In most cases that means less content, and B2B typically generates less negative sentiment than B2C. That means B2B companies have less content to control and less negative content to deal with. Therefore B2B companies can maintain more control over their social content which makes it easier to get their message through to the right audience.

4. B2B purchase decisions are more rational
B2B sales cycles can span months or even years. Buyers research products, educate themselves, review competition, seek opinions via referrals or recommendations and in many cases, interact with brands before making a purchase decision. B2B buyers also need the approval of one or more colleagues to make the purchase. Compared to B2C, the B2B buying decision is a much more considered process and it’s based largely on business value.

5. It’s easier to build long-term relationships
The goal for most B2B marketers is to convert prospects into customers. Because the sales cycle is longer, B2B companies need to focus on relationships as part of that process. Communication with prospects, engaging them, educating them and leading them towards purchase creates the foundation for a long term relationship. And in many situations, the social media relationship continues past the sale through support, updates and continuing education.

6. The B2B market is smaller than the B2C market
Compared to B2C, B2B is a smaller, more focused target market. Using social media to identify prospects, connect with them and start building a relationship is faster and easier in the B2B market.

7. B2B buyers trust recommendations and feedback
Because B2B purchases are typically more considered decisions, B2B buyers tend to value the recommendations and feedback they receive from colleagues and other industry professionals. Social media provides a great opportunity to solicit product feedback, which can help influence the purchasing decision of the buyer.

8. B2B content has a long tail
B2B products tend to change less frequently than their B2C counterparts, so the social content you produce for your marketing efforts will create value for a longer period of time. That can make B2B social marketing more effective (and likely less expensive) than B2C.

Do you agree that B2B social media is easier than B2C? Are there any other ways that you feel B2B social media has an advantage over B2C?

Comments

  1. says

    As a person that does social media for a B2B company I can say all the points you have listed above are right on the money.
    However, I wouldn’t say that B2B is easier than B2C in social media, it’s merely different. The relationships have to be different than they would in B2C and sometimes require a lot more nurturing and a bit less “marketing.” There are also many similarities between the two and I think that B2C companies can learn from what B2B companies are doing in social media and the same goes for the reverse.
    Great post though.

    Cheers,
    Sheldon, community manager for Sysomos

  2. says

    I also do social media for a B2B Deal company and its great to hear some positive feedback about the process. It is still new to me but compared to B2C the relationship is more worthwhile because both sides are really benefiting. The buyer is getting a great deal and the seller is gaining new hopefully long lasting customers. B2C deals are mostly one and done.

  3. says

    Hi Adam,

    As a copywriter who’s naturally also involved in soc med and content marketing for my company, I found #3 quite interesting. Seldom is the lack of social content in B2B viewed as positive, but I think you have a good point.

    Still, getting our arms around the content we do generate, monitor and respond to can seem overwhelming at times. I’m going to use your #3 as a way to de-panic folks about dedicating resources to content activities!

  4. says

    Sheldon- I totally agree that they are different and that tactics used in B2B can benefit B2C as well as the reverse. I think the approach used is usually defined by what your business objectives are and that’s what makes the difference. To your point, B2B usually requires more nurturing to get the sale.

    John- good point about social media benefiting both sides. Building strong relationships is always a good thing. It’s great that social media gives B2B marketers that option.

    Noel- thanks for the feedback. Even with less content than a B2C counterpart it can still be a lot of work. Overall B2B marketers have it a bit easier simply due to less volume, but proper allocation of time and resources should allow any business to maintain control of their message. Good luck with the de-panicking- that’ll probably be a more difficult task than the copywriting!

  5. Grant says

    I’m also in charge of social media for a B2B company and although it’s not difficult to maintain, it sure is tough to gain fans. I know that maintaining relationships is the most important aspect of B2B social media, but it sure wouldn’t hurt to gain extra fans as well. Do you have any tips for this?

  6. Astrid says

    Well, interesting, i am working in a German b2b company not doing any soc media activities right now … one point is bewildering to me, maybe because of different cultural backgrounds … it’s not outrageously welcomed to surf the internet during business hours, especially not surfing soc media sites … which i would expect my business partners to do, to benefit from any soc media activities my company would do … what kind of soc media activities do you do? facebook? twitter? :-/ ?

  7. says

    Grant- gaining fans is only helpful if it results in your business achieving its goals. Quality is always more important than quantity. You can attract the right audience by providing relevant, useful content and engaging in meaningful relationships. Brands that do this successfully find it results in increased numbers of fans/followers/etc.

  8. says

    Astrid- social media marketing is a viable business marketing tactic, so it’s not typically frowned upon to use Facebook, Twitter, etc. as a marketing channel. I think many businesses do not like when employees “surf” the internet, but it’s generally accepted for those using it for marketing purposes. This article may also give you more insight: http://bit.ly/oP5f4S

  9. says

    Grant, I agree that it can be frustrating if your Facebook page has only 30 “likers.” What has been especially disappointing to me on a couple of projects is a lack of participation/engagement with the Page from among the leaders and employees of the company or organization. They seem to think that the “Facebook thing” is covered simply because there are 50 pictures from a company picnic or groundbreaking on the page, or because there are a series of one-way posts linking to static website content.

    The truth is that Facebook will not “bring” anyone to a new or under-followed B2B Page, whether it has decent content or not. Every person who is already passionate about the company or brand has to get behind it and push.

    They have to make an effort to tell people that interesting or useful new information about their industry is regularly going up on facebook•com/companyname. They have to leave regular, meaningful comments under official posts and click the Like buttons (to achieve better Wall penetration for existing Page subscribers). They have to make posts on the B2B Page under their own IDs.

    In short, they have to do the work. Facebook isn’t a perpetual-motion device (not that I’m suggesting Grant thinks it is.)

  10. says

    Adam,

    I feel the post is definitely interesting and helpful, but I don’t agree with some of the points. I feel the B2C comparison is revolving around casual purchases whereas the purchase of a house, car or college education is a B2C purchase that requires just as much thought, planning, rational decision making (except when it’s a red sports car) as the B2B decisions you’re describing.

    Also, when it’s B2B at the local small business level, which is where I operate it actually resembles a B2C experience because you’re dealing directly with the owner and you become friends as well as business acquaintances in many cases.

    Just wanted to point out some differing perspectives that don’t necessarily jibe with your points. I do agree with much of what you’ve said for larger B2B vs smaller B2C experiences. Thanks.

  11. says

    Hi,

    im writing my own Blog about social media for B2B. I would not says its easier then in a B2C context. B2C products are usually more emotional. You have shorter purchase decision processes, what makes it easier to generate sales. B2B decision maker can be seen as experts in their field. Studies say that a B2B decider spends about 2 hours online each day looking potential business partners, products or supplier.

    Anyway I still agree with most of the points you listed.

  12. says

    Thanks for this post. It’s the first one I have read. I am busy reading your #B2BSM book and love it. The style is great and tells me a lot about you.

    I have a question:

    I have been asked by investors to start a hybrid marketing agency based on inbound principles. The business plan is nearing completion. But then I got introduced to your book when I busy with the target market.

    Yes. I know. ;)

    You have now created a problem for me. I nice one. I need to or rather what to choose between providing a marketing service to either B2C companies or B2B companies.

    Obviously you’ll be biased towards B2B. But my gut tells me to go for B2B.

    BTW: I have lots of experience in B2B and B2C. Not in marketing. My career started in heavy industry and then I ran my own retail stores for many years before marketing took center stage.

    My investors are not the kind of guys who will just accept my gut feel. They would prefer some justification.

    Now for the question? How do I decide between B2B or B2C and what can I use to justify my decision?

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