There is a perception that B2B companies have been slow adopters of social media in comparison to their media savvy B2C counterparts.
This is certainly not true historically, at least in surveys focusing on US business behaviour.
Nevertheless, professionals engaged in the B2B social media field will be all too fully aware of the perceived resistance in some quarters to social media in the UK.
The reasons are quite familiar to any PR or marketing professional working particularly for SME companies. He or she will be able to recount stories showing lack of awareness to downright hostility emanating from the following causes:
- Social media is seen as wasteful frippery
- Social media is a costly resource that produces no return
- The client base does not engage in social media
- Social media is for more glamorous companies, not those that are conservative and basic in nature
- Social media is an additional and unwelcome expenditure
- Lack of the skills to engage in social media
Let’s tackle some of these issues:
Wasteful frippery – yes, the media might make much of people spending hours on Facebook to no discernible advantage, especially in younger demographics.
However, highly targeted social media platforms can be filled with the exact demographic B2B craves. Take Spicework, an online forum for IT professionals, it has over two million users and is ideal for engagement with a tightly defined demographic.
No return – Suppliers and in-house marketing professionals have to show the return, at least a vision of it to doubtful directors. Reputation and awareness building, growing trust, customer intelligence and client engagement are just a few that can be mentioned.
B2C is more glamourous and geared for social media – Your target market is going to find what might be a “boring” B2B service or product of interest because it is in their professional interest. Each audience finds what is glamourous for them.
Social media platforms can complement each other, and social media across all platforms can complement marketing – it is a powerful combination. But it is only as powerful as a company lets it be. Hopefully impressions that B2B lags behind B2C in social media will be a thing of the past, as they are in the States.