However, that does not mean that it is useless for businesses.
B2B social media marketing is a very important part of growing your business. The trick is to find the networks where your target audience spends most of their time.
B2B Case Studies – Sponsorships and Collaborations
Facebook encourages the creation of business profiles, and allows users to post and engage with other accounts via those profiles just as they would if they were posting using their own user ID.
Many businesses build up their own friends lists and maintain full, active profiles. This is particularly true for social-media heavy niches such as games, entertainment, media, and fitness.
Using B2B Social Media Marketing
One example of a successful B2B social media marketing campaign is the promotion of health and fitness products to gyms. Many suppliers of nutrition equipment and exercise gear maintain multiple social media profiles and use their B2B presence to run campaigns targeted at the business profiles of local gyms, health clubs, venues that host fitness shows, or personal trainers.
They then run a B2C profile which promotes different products, discounts, and events. This marketing strategy is surprisingly successful, and helps to focus your efforts so that you send a clear and consistent brand message for your B2B and B2C arms – assuming you target both sectors.
Networks for Business
One of the simplest options for B2B social media marketing is to simply seek out the places where brands spend most of their time. Some networks, such as Pinterest and Instagram, are clearly consumer-focused. Others, such as LinkedIn, are more professional in their orientation.
Facebook and Twitter are host to a mixture of demographics, and there are industry-specific social networks such as Identi.ca and OpenHatch for the open source computing industries, or NamesInGames and GamesIndustry.biz for the video games industry. Try to find out what your industry’s main social networks are, and build up a presence on them.
Google+ is another social network that is worthy of consideration. Uptake of Google+ is as spotty in the B2B world as it is in the consumer world, but there are some industries that do use it. The only way to know for sure whether it is worth investing your time in Google+ is to explore the network yourself.
Pointers for B2B Social Media Marketing – Engagement vs. Networking
One important thing to remember when it comes to B2B social media marketing is that businesspeople, and association businesses, are very busy. They tend to prefer content that gets straight to the point. The fluff, fun, and “engagement” posts that go down well in the world of consumer focused social media marketing are not likely to be well-received in the world of B2B marketing.
If you want to promote your B2B company using social media, you should approach your social media marketing more as a form of networking. Your goal is to demonstrate that you are useful.
There is some space for entertaining content, but your primary goal should be to find the decision makers that matter in your industry and show to them that you have the expertise or the right product for their needs. Focus on features and benefits, and try to keep your brand name in front of the company on a regular basis.
You are unlikely to generate conversions purely from social media interaction; indeed, this should not be your goal. Rather, you should aim to build up brand recognition with your target businesses through social media, so that when the business decides that it needs the kind of equipment or expertise that you provide, they will invite you to tender for the job, or call you for a quote.
As you are well aware, things move slowly in the world of business, and nurturing quality contacts is essential if you want to succeed.
B2B social media marketing is a different skill than B2C social media marketing, and you should not use the same person for both jobs unless their primary training is in public relations as a general concept.
Professionalism and clarity are an absolute must for B2B marketers, and decision makers are far less patient than consumers. Bear this in mind when structuring your campaigns.