Ever since social media emerged as a useful and valuable corporate marketing and sales vehicle, most of the attention has been on the business-to-consumer (B2C) market.
Companies such as Dell, Starbucks, Naked Pizza and Comcast have been celebrated for their success in leveraging social media to connect with consumers, offer better customer service and drive sales.
Meanwhile, the B2B social media market has pretty much been ignored. Perhaps the biggest reason is the potential audience is considerably smaller than the B2C market so from the outside looking in, B2B social media may appear be far less interesting.
The reality is this is far from the truth. In fact, B2B social media can be as effective and enjoy as much success as B2C social media. In fact, the strategic approach between B2B and B2C social media is similar. The differences lies in the tactics used because the approach and tone of B2B social media can be more formal. (For more thoughts on the strategic vs. tactic angle, check out this post by Jay Baer.)
So what are the benefits for B2B social media? On a high level, it offer ways to:
- Build relationships with existing and potential customers
- Provide better and faster customer service
- Offer information about your products and services to suppliers, partners, employees and investors
- Establish a stronger brand and market presence
- Engage in business development, sales and marketing opportunities.
As the global economy begins to recover, B2B social media is going to become increasingly sexy to more companies are recognizing that social media can leveraged effectively to achieve strategic and tactical goals.
A lot of this activity is happening as companies look for new and different ways to do marketing and sales after spending most of 2009 doing little more than trying to hold their heads above water. Now is the time many companies are willing to do new things rather than do nothing.
As well, here’s a chart looking at social media ad spending: