Social media is an important component in marketing for all types of businesses. It doesn’t matter if a business’s customers are individuals or businesses, social media works very well for marketing to both groups. But, there are some differences in approach, and it’s important to understand the difference between business to business (B2B) marketing versus business to consumer (B2C) marketing.
B2B – Typically, the way social media is used to interact with B2B entities is by forming associations and groups for them to interact with each other and the product creator. So you might find like-minded professionals getting together in a group on LinkedIn.
Typically the group is created by a business that sells something to the business people who join. For instance, QuickBooks might form a group for accountants. They’ll provide the opportunity for professional collaboration, participation in studies, educational content and more to the group in hopes that the members will keep buying their product.
B2C – In the case of business to consumer marketing, social media may be used to broadcast information to the consumer about the product or brand, or even provide customer service to the consumer via social media in the form of user groups. The brand might also form communities based on a particular lifestyle and not be directly marketing to the group, such as a cake decorating discussion group formed by Wilson the leading manufacturer of cake decorating supplies for individuals.
In both cases, engagement through social media is very useful. It can take the form of professional collaboration, shop talk, and also as a way to disseminate information. It doesn’t really matter if it’s B2B or B2C; the idea is the same, only the content differs in terms of the audience. The business owners may understand the jargon, while the individual may need to be educated more about the jargon.
But, the purpose of each is very different. In the case of B2C the purpose of using social media is to either
- help the business disseminate information to the customer
- expand brand awareness to the consumer, or
- to provide a platform for customers to interact with each other and representatives of your brand
In the case of B2B the purpose is usually to develop long-term working relationships with the members and increase brand loyalty.
In both cases the idea is to produce content that informs, educates and increases engagement. Because when you think about it, even in the case of a B2B situation they’re still also consumers – they just happen to be slightly more knowledgeable consumers, so the content is going to be a little different. It’s all about knowing your audience and the purpose of using social media.
If you know the audience and you know the purpose, social media will be very effective. If you have no idea what your goals are and what you want to accomplish, you won’t be successful – and even if you were, you won’t know it.