Every day, millions of people are connecting through social media. Here, in the realm of social media marketing, we’re often called on to help foster relations between businesses and their customers. Yes, it’s true that social media is one of the best ways to both connect and maintain relationships with your customers. In the next few years, customer service will be almost entirely through social channels and targeted marketing is already beginning to play a crucial role in any campaign.
But not all social media is about the direct connection between customer and brand? In fact, utilizing social media you can connect just as well with businesses as you can with customers. B2B (Business To Business) marketing can have a significant impact on both your relationships with clients and customers as well as your bottom line.
Firstly, the question most businesses are asking themselves: why would I want to use social media to connect with other businesses?
Great question. B2B marketing is often done away from the public eye. It’s done through networking, cold calling or a host of other sales tactics. So, why would you want to publicize it? Because, you’re missing out on fantastic opportunities without it. Social media has made connecting with other businesses as easy as sending out a tweet. Need a copywriter, editor or graphic designer for your business? Just run a LinkedIn ad. What about wanting to partner with shipping company to send out your wares? Send them a message on their Facebook page. Recently signed a deal with another company? A great way to announce it is through Twitter, tagging the company in your tweet.
All of this lead to increased brand loyalty. Why? Transparency. Customers want to see a humanised brand. They WANT to look past the logo and see the ‘person’ behind the computer screen, even if it’s just a name. All of this is part of telling your brand story, of connecting and engaging with customers on an emotional level. This is the essence of social media marketing….storytelling.
But B2B marketing isn’t just about tweets and Facebook posts. It’s also a great place to spy on your competition. Not too sure where to start with your social media marketing strategy? Just look at what your competitors are doing. If it’s working for them, copy it. If it’s not….innovate and try to find something that plays well with your audience. Don’t just sit and look at all their posts, though. Go all the way. Set up different streams to search both the name and hashtags for your competitors and see just what their customers are saying about them…you can even slide into the conversation and recommend your own product if their customers aren’t too happy with their service.
There’s a seminal difference between B2B and B2C marketing. B2C is often considered selling to customers through social media. With B2B marketing you’re not so much selling to customers but, rather, educating other businesses….in front of your customers. This is a great way to increase brand loyalty and getting your name out onto the tips of your client’s tongues.
But, best of all, you can utilize the power of social media as a way to dig deep into the data of both your customers and your competitors. It’s easy enough to poke into the keywords and hashtags of social media…but social also offers you a range of metrics and analytics which tell you so much about who you need to be targeting. Being able to correctly read, and understand, the data gives you a significant advantage in the digital realm.
Throughout the social sphere there are countless numbers of customers and competitors all vying for both influence and space on the soapbox. It’s important for all businesses to have a structured, professionally run social presence in order to take full advantage of the communication tools of the 21st century.