The Difference Between a B2C and B2B Social Media Strategy
Social media strategy, do you have one? Maybe you do, or maybe you post to your social channels whenever you have time or find something worth sharing. Whatever your approach, it’s important to have a social media strategy in place to help guide your content and establish clear goals. You should also understand the difference between a B2C and B2B strategy so you can effectively apply the appropriate strategy. Simply put, the way you use social media should be determined by whether your business provides goods and services to individual members of the public or to other businesses.
There are three key differences between a B2C and B2B social media strategy.
Social Media Channels: Which channels will amplify your message?
It seems like there’s a new social media channel gaining popularity every day. So how do you stay up to date on them all? Well, you don’t.
Go where your audience is!
B2C brands have the luxury of their audience being on almost every platform, but it’s still important to prioritize in order to connect with customers as efficiently as possible. For example, a retail brand targeting women ages 18-24 should consider making Instagram a priority because #fashion was ranked in the top hashtags used throughout 2017 and fashion bloggers are a huge part of the Instagram community.
But you’re a B2B brand not a fashion retailer, so which channel do you use? Again, go where your audience is spending their time. There aren’t many business executives and decision makers spending a lot of time on Instagram while in the right buying mindset. So where are they? LinkedIn. 92 percent of B2B marketers leverage LinkedIn above all other social media channels. Moreover, they’re in a business mindset when they’re on LinkedIn, which is not the case when they’re on other platforms such as Instagram and Snapchat. 80 percent of all B2B social media leads come from LinkedIn because the platform is specifically designed as a platform for business professionals to interact with one another.
Content Length & Style: How does your audience like to receive information?
The length and style of the content you share will also differ based on whether you’re a B2C brand or a B2B brand. But no matter what kind of business you have there is one thing that your customers are wanting from your content:
Customers of B2C brands want listacles (articles formatted in a numbered list) and posts that are easily skimmed. They value content that is fun, humorous, surprising and sometimes a little out of the box. This is how branded content can go viral – quick and entertaining. If customers of B2C brands have to scroll for too long you’ll most likely lose their interest because people often have short attention spans, particularly when they’re not invested from the beginning.
On the other hand, B2B customers are often looking for more serious, informative content that establishes your level of expertise and knowledge on a topic. The content should be long enough to make the point and give the reader value, but not so long that you’re covering every possible point about a given topic. Have separate posts for that. Customers in the B2B sector are busy and so are you. So make sure you’re giving them the best information you can for the limited time they have to spend with you. It should still be easily readable and worth sharing, but written and styled in a more professional manner. Show the reader that you are an expert on the matter and you can be trusted.
Whether you’re posting listacles and lifestyle pictures or 600 word blog posts, the content should match your brand personality. People want authenticity. If you’re a fun company to work with and you have great company culture, let that show in your writing! Are you a serious, ‘no joking around’ brand? Then post content that shows your seriousness and sophistication. Be true to your brand and don’t mislead the customer by posting content that doesn’t accurately represent it.
Buying Cycle: How long is your sales cycle?
Are your customers compulsive buyers that jump on board with your brand after one or two posts? Or will they think long and hard about contacting you after seeing multiple pieces of expert content?
If your customer is customer A, then you’re more than likely a B2C brand. Which means customers purchase quickly and without a lot of commitment. They’re committed to that one purchase but aren’t required to have a long-term relationship with your brand. So what does this short buying cycle mean for your social media strategy? It only takes one, maybe two compelling posts for them to engage with your brand and make a purchase. It also means that you’re quickly able to see a ROI on your social media efforts because you can see how a post led to a purchase.
If your customer is customer B, then you’re more than likely a B2B brand. Your customers take their time making purchase decisions they’re looking at investing in a long-term commitment with your brand. You also have to remember that 7-20 people could be involved in a purchase decision, so don’t expect one to come quickly. You should view your social media as a lead nurturing tool. It’s a way to continually connect with your potential customers and show them your expertise. They may not be ready for the sale right now, but keep showing them that you can solve their problems so they choose you when they are ready. It can be hard to see a clear ROI for your social media, but if your followers are engaging more and your website is receiving more visitors from your social channels, that’s a clear sign it’s working.
Remember, there’s no one-size-fits-all strategy for every business or customer. You have to know your audience and your brand. What do you offer or know that sets you apart from the competition? Are you able to share information and insight that your competition isn’t sharing? Is there a specific niche of your audience that you want to focus on growing? All of these questions are important to consider and weave into your social media strategy whether you’re B2C or B2B business.
To learn how your social media strategy plays into your overall marketing plan, check out our blog on Omni-channel marketing: what it is and why you need it.