Four key differences between B2B and B2C social media marketing

 In Marketing

Business-to-business social media and business-to-consumer social media operate on similar principles, but there are massive differences in the practicalities.  This means that if you want to market to both sectors, it’s strongly recommended to have two separate accounts and funnel people appropriately.  Here are some points to keep in mind when creating content for the accounts.

Relationships operate differently

In both the B2B and B2C worlds, social media is about building relationships rather than direct sales.  In fact, in both worlds, pushing too hard on sales can backfire very badly.  Ultimately, however, the aim of both is to get people buying from your brand. 

In the business world, this usually means getting someone to trust you enough that they are prepared to be your brand ambassador to their company.  Remember, relatively few business decisions are taken by one person acting alone, especially not when they involve money.  In the consumer world, by contrast, it means getting someone to trust you enough to part with their money.  Neither is necessarily “harder” or “easier” than the other, they are just different.

Time horizons are different

The fact that there are usually more people involved in business-related decisions means that it often takes longer, a lot longer, to get everyone “bought-in” to your brand, let alone ready to make a purchase.  In the consumer world, you can often start monetising relationships at a much earlier stage. 

On the flip side of this, however, the fact that business-purchasing decisions take more time and effort means that once companies have found something which works for them, they tend to stick with it.  Consumers are usually able to change course much more easily.  The good news is that they can also show a lot of brand loyalty – provided that you keep putting the effort into maintaining the relationship.

Search Engine Optimisation strategy works differently

Modern SEO strategy is highly dependent on being able to generate engagement.  This means consumers need to do a whole lot more than just click on a link.  The search engines want to see how much of the content they consume and whether or not they engage with it actively in some way, such as by liking, commenting and/or sharing (in that order of importance).

If you’re marketing to the business world, then the chances are that your target audience is going to consume your content when they are either at work (including their lunch break) or on their commute to work.  The chances are that they want educational content which has some clear relevance to the world of business, preferably their business sector.  It’s great if content can be entertaining and/or inspirational as well as educational, but for the most part, the emphasis should be strongly on the educational element.

Educational content can also work very well in the consumer world, but here there is much more scope for content which is entertaining and inspirational as well.  In fact, some of the most popular consumer-facing content around is purely for entertainment or inspiration.

Consider that you want to show your potential customers that you’re knowledgeable about what’s happening in your industry, that you’re up to date on current trends and news but ultimately that there is a person behind the brand. No matter whether it is B2B or B2C – people buy from people. If your content shows nothing relatable you may find yourself failing.

Your choice of social media platform may be different

Social media platforms can promote posts either organically or for a fee.  This can give your organic SEO strategy a significant boost, but only if you use the right platform for your target audience.  If you’re targeting a business audience, then your best options are likely to be LinkedIn and YouTube. 

If you’re targeting a consumer audience, then LinkedIn may still be an option (depending on your market) and YouTube is still good, but, depending on your market, you might also want to look at Facebook/Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Snapchat and TikTok.

Not every platforms fits every business, it’s really worth remembering this and so that you don’t waste valuable marketing time, find out whether your “perfect” customers are. Take the time to do the research and this will save you in the long run.

For more information or if you need a hand, please contact us.

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