B2B vs. B2C Social Media Marketing
With people spending so much of their time on social media sites, savvy businesses are tapping into this resource as a marketing avenue. Business-to-consumer (B2C) and business-to-business (B2B) marketing can both be effective in the social media world, but there are some key differences. If you can understand these differences, you will see the biggest ROI on your social network marketing time and budget.
Different Platforms Work Better for Different Needs
The top social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google and Pinterest, each appeal to different demographics. You need to know which of these draws traffic from your target market. Facebook, for example, works incredibly well for B2C marketing, because most people log on to Facebook to network with friends, not business associates. Thus, consumers are in the right mindset to learn about products or services pertinent to their life outside of work.
The B2B marketer needs to utilize social media outlets that appeal to professionals. LinkedIn is one of the best examples of this. People use LinkedIn to connect professionally; so, when they log on to LinkedIn, they are in the work or business mindset. People expect the others on LinkedIn to talk about business when they are on the site. Experienced marketer Craig M. Jamieson of Business2Community.com ranks LinkedIn the highest for B2B sales success, giving it a score of 4.5 out of 5. Twitter came in second with a score of 3.5.
So how do the sites rank for B2C marketing? The answer varies depending on the type of business and the marketing strategy, but Facebook still has the greatest audience and offers the best chance to start a dialogue with that audience. In March 2012, Facebook received over 7 billion visits. This is astounding, and means that at least some of any business’s target market is probably on Facebook. Second in line was Twitter with over 182 million visits and then Pinterest with over 104, million visitors, according to GMA News.
A Realistic Example
Consider, for example, a restaurant owner. This individual would have to market to both businesses and consumers. When searching for new customers, LinkedIn would be the wrong venue. New customers would be best reached via Facebook or Twitter, where existing followers would be able to spread the news about an unprecedented coupon or new special. Pinterest could be used as well to post images of dishes available at the location.
When the restaurant owner needed new restaurant equipment, a post on Facebook would not be very effective. Those customers who are looking for coupons and new dishes are not going to know who has affordable equipment for sale, and it will be viewed as out of place on this platform. In this case, networking through LinkedIn, where manufacturers of this type of equipment will also be networking and marketing would be better. On this site, asking for help locating an equipment supplier or even searching directly for suppliers is not considered unusual, whereas it would be on Facebook. Twitter falls somewhere in between, as it works well for both B2B and B2C marketing.
Timing of Marketing Also Varies
One interesting difference between B2B and B2C social media marketing that many marketers fail to consider is the best timing for the marketing messages. Research, as posted on ArgyleSocial.com, has shown that B2B engagement is highest during the week, while B2C engagement is higher on the weekend. This makes sense, because businesses are working during the week, with time off for social endeavors on the weekend, while consumers are busy at work during the week, and have time to do social networking on the weekend. When you market using social media, you need to target your efforts to these specific times.
Social marketing is effective for both types of marketing models, but the strategies employed and the platforms used will vary. Your job as a business marketer is to effectively use these platforms for the market you are trying to reach. Understanding these subtle differences will make your online marketing much more effective and maximize your ROI.