What’s The Difference Between B2B and B2C Social Media Marketing?

You’re an executive at a commercial real estate company and you know your firm needs to be using social media.  The favorite restaurant you like to take your clients to uses it and has a high number of fans on Facebook with lots of engagement What's the difference between B2B and B2C social media?and keeps growing every day.  You decide to do the same thing and set up your company on Facebook.  Good job!  Way to go!  Insert additional corporate compliment here!  You post office properties you’re trying to occupy with prospective tenants on your Facebook page.  You post this over and over and over and over again.  Your Facebook page only has 10 fans after 6 months.  No one likes or even comments on your postings.  Your phone isn’t ringing from anyone wanting to do business with you.  Why is your Facebook page not delivering the same results that your favorite restaurant is getting?  It’s because there’s fundamental differences between B2B & B2C social media that you need to understand.

So what are these differences?  They are:

  1. ROI – B2B social media marketing is ultimately about leads.  B2C social media marketing is more about branding.  Remember your favorite restaurant?  It’s going to take a lot of hamburgers and beers to be sold on their Facebook page to justify the costs associated with their B2C social media marketing efforts.  For them, it’s more about branding and PR.  Don’t get me wrong but the ROI for branding and PR can be calculated but it can be a little difficult.  For a B2B company, typically a few closed leads a year from social media more than justifies the time and expenditures with it.
  2. Positioning – You’re posting info about your products and services all the time but no one’s biting.  Why? Because this is social media.  People don’t want to be sold to through social media (or in real life for that fact).  As a B2B company, you should be positioned as a thought leader on social media. Why?  Because your customers want to know you have the answers that they need.  Instead of posting what you have to offer, post your company’s position on a major issue in your industry. Talk about an upcoming trade show and what you think will be some things to watch out for. Then when you do an occasional post about your company’s services/products, your social media audience is more apt to listen to your sales pitch since they know you’re an expert in your industry.
  3. Platforms – The platform of choice for a B2C company is Facebook by far.  Twitter works well too but LinkedIn usually never plays a role in a B2C’s company’s social media strategy. However, for a B2B company this is opposite.  LinkedIn is the main platform of engagement. Why?  There are over 130,000,000 business professionals on this platform.  Chances are you won’t find the waiter at your favorite restaurant on LinkedIn but you’ll probably find the CEO of that major company you’ve been wanting to do business with on LinkedIn.  Connect directly to him/her and build that online relationship.  Give that CEO a reason to want to reach out to you to learn more about what your company has to offer.  Remember:  They want to know you have the answers they need.

So now you see there is a distinct difference between B2C and B2B social media marketing.  You know what you need to do so get to it.  That CEO on LinkedIn is waiting for you to connect with him/her to learn how he/she can do business with your company.  Get out there and connect to him/her before your competitors do.

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  1. Emmanuel July 6, 2012 at 2:49 pm

    Social media is a great tool, presuming it is used cocterrly. I say that as I feel people forget that anything you present on the web is part of your brand – whether or not you want it to be.

  2. Jeremy July 4, 2012 at 7:04 pm

    Agreed on the evangelist title it is over-used and gives the impsrseion we put stock in faith over science. For examples of social media working for boring companies, I look to my dog-eared copy of Groundswell Charles Schwab, Network Solutions, P&G have all built communities, learned from the language and demographics of the people in those communities, tweaked marketing to match the language used in the segments they attracted, and then won more business from those segments.

  3. matellez November 16, 2011 at 9:31 pm

    Thanks for the comment! It sounds like you’re doing a good job with your company’s social media presence and definitely this will all pay off for your business.

  4. marcus mora November 16, 2011 at 8:54 pm

    great article. my company is strictly B2B / we do have a FB page and i update it with some services but try to post out more information as you mentioned in your article. I am building my Linked In network daily. Reaching out to more clients and their networks. I can see where this will pay off in the long run. It is good to see it in writing. Guns up!