If I asked you what it means “to be good at social media in a B2B environment,” what does that mean to you?
I was recently speaking about this topic with a consultant specialized in B2C social media, and our conversation was very interesting. But it was sometimes difficult not to fall into the trap of performance indicators that we track more often than we need to.
B2C and B2B are two distinct worlds, with buying and selling behaviours that are not comparable. This is true for social media as for other sales and marketing tactics. For example, in B2C, the image, the voice, the gamey and viral aspects are much more emphasized because the products offered to consumers are sometimes difficult to tell apart. While in B2B, the buying cycle is fairly rational, sometimes long and requires more participants.
Social media are “social” and acquire value if the interpersonal social aspect is maintained. And like all relationships, including those that come from social media, things can change. So it’s important to manage your relationships and develop them for the good or to the advantage of all parties (of course, we all plead for virtue). To do this, time and attention are required because relationships are built on mutual trust and respect. Of course they implicitly underlie the commercialization of a good or service, but these conditions of trust and respect are indeed real.
Thus, the rise in the number of followers is no longer the most important factor (even if it remains very significant). What really counts is the number of leads, the percentage converted, the cost per lead, references, etc. Because the tactic used doesn’t matter as long as it’s profitable, as it leads to the conversion of a first purchase and when it’s possible to upsell or cross-sell.
Moreover, the markets in B2B are often niche markets, and contain fewer influencers, opinion leaders and potential prospects than in B2C. Without considering that several industrial sectors are behind in their use of social media.
Doing good marketing consists in joining our targets with the accurate tactics and accompanying them through methods adapted to their needs. And it is even more true with the social media.
And as coincidences don’t exist, this is the exact theme tweeted live from the Digital Media Summit 2013 (circa 15h07, 19-03-2013). “Find the influencers: people whose comments will change behaviours. The key is discovering where your consumers interact online #2013DMS.”