B2Bs have always had a much trickier relationship with social media than B2Cs have. B2Cs typically have a much larger target audience than B2Bs, which tend to operate on a niche scale. The broad target audience is much better suited for the major social media outlets, which also appeal to the masses.
B2Cs can utilize social media to promote sales, share coupons, and publish discounts intended for social media followers only and this is the primary reason why people follow B2C brands in social media- to be in the know regarding deals and to save some money. B2Bs don’t have the luxury of reeling people in to their page with the allure of a page full of discounts and promotions, since many B2Bs just don’t operate that way. A B2B service or product, in many cases, has a perceived value that can be ruined if there are always coupons or promotions. B2B customers might wonder “really, how good is this product?” if it’s always discounted.
So, B2Bs need to utilize social media in a different way. Social followers are a combination of current customers and potential customers, much more so than with a B2C brand. Most followers of a B2C brand already are customers, and the social media page just serves to keep them interested and engaged and to encourage repeat business. B2B social media is used as more of a lead generation tool. B2B social media followers are visiting a social media page, and following a B2B social media page because they are looking for information. There’s a good chance that they are very early in the buying process. If a B2B is utilizing social media properly it means that they are sharing lots of useful, informational content in the form of blog posts, white papers, videos, webinars, etc. Each of these pieces of content are giving social media followers the information that they need about your industry and your business while they are still in the decision process. A social media connection on a B2B social media page doesn’t necessarily equal a sale, and even if it does equal a sale, it’s likely that it won’t come immediately.
This is a concept that can confuse B2B website owners, who are already confused enough by how to best use social media. They wonder why they are getting a handful of new followers every month, but that they haven’t seen any increase in leads or sales. These website owners need to understand the typical sales cycle of their product. It could be more than a year before a business is ready to commit. If you are slowly growing your social media count, that’s an important step in the process, but it’s really only one of the first steps in the process. Think about a new social media follower as an initial “meeting” between your business and the individual. If you meet a prospect any other way, at an industry event or a trade show for example, you might give them your business card. Do you think they will call you the next day and buy from you? Most likely not. They will keep the information handy for when they might need it. This is the same concept with a B2B social media follower, they are following you to learn more about what you have to offer so that they have the knowledge for when they are ready to buy.