When I read an article from La Presse by Alain McKenna (in French only) a few weeks ago, I realized that social networks still have a ways to go to when it comes to popularity among companies. In the article, the names mentioned (General Motors (GM), The Gap, JC Penney, Gamespot) were those of companies in the B2C sector (business to consumer) that deleted their Facebook accounts. The B2C customer is a consumer or end user, while in B2B (business to business) the customer is mainly another company. These are two completely different worlds. The sales process is more strategically-involved and complex in B2B.
In the context of my work, I feel that social networks are an efficient tool for finding qualified prospects all while increasing the notoriety, leadership and presence of a company on the web, during normal times or during a crisis (an unhappy customer, for example), etc.
Social networks give substance to SEO and attract appropriate visitors to the company website and blog. In addition, as mentioned in the article from La Presse, the results aren’t immediate. It can take up to six months before a company reaches its goals.
As mentioned earlier, the buying process in B2B is more complex than in B2C. In B2B, we’re dealing with interpersonal sales where prospects are searching for information or are in need of complementary products or substitutes. Education about a new product, or a technically complicated one, is standard in B2B.
Social networks, which are marketing tactics, allow for this role to be played in addition to other more traditional tactics. Obviously, it’s essential to choose your tactics wisely if everything is to function according to planned. Just don’t make a generality of a scant number of B2C cases. As in anything new (and by “new” we mean pertaining to social networks), there are adjustments to be made!
In my next post, I will present the B2B tactics which attract qualified prospects. What tactics do you use?