Social media marketing has become indispensable for business-to-consumer (B2C) as well as for business-to-business (B2B) marketing. However, some brands still don’t adapt their social media content to their target audiences. A successful presence in social networks not only has a positive effect on brand building and reputation, but it also supports employee engagement and e-commerce through the realisation of a company’s goals.
So, what is the difference between B2B and B2C approaches in social media marketing? For both kinds, alongside social media marketing itself, analysis and monitoring play an at least as important role. Before social media marketing can be carried out, the target group must first be analysed in order to find out how the intended audience can best be reached. The social media activities must then be monitored constantly to find out which content is best performing and how it can be continuously improved. In the age of customer evaluation, reputation management plays a decisive role. Discussions on social media platforms must be moderated and, above all, the problems of customers should be responded to.
However, in order to operate successful social media marketing, the implementation for B2B and B2C companies requires different approaches in terms of content marketing, social media channels and the final formulation of objectives.
The three most important differences between B2B and B2C social media include:
1. Content is king: fact v emotions
Content is King! This also applies to all marketing and social media marketing in particular. While B2C companies should focus on an emotional and entertaining approach aligned to the personal interests of their target group, strong B2B content is characterised by all of the above plus a mix of emotions, facts and statistics. For both B2C and B2B companies, the narrative style, ie the preparation of the content, is decisive. Here, storytelling based on facts is crucial. While content marketing in the B2B sector is usually straightforward, the spectrum of B2C companies is much more diverse.
To reinforce this difference with an example, Appetite Creative’s clients Scentropy (a niche perfume online shop) and Hybrid Theory (a data-driven advertising company) can be consulted. See here what we do for Scentropy’s and Hybrid Theory’s social media!
Scentropy’s social media aim is for customers to identify with the brand and its values through emotional appeal. Here, for example, appealing pictures of perfumes are posted and, in the description, you can read about their scents and the feelings the perfumes convey. Hybrid Theory succeeds in generating industry-relevant, fact-based content for its followers. For example, by providing interesting statistics on current industry trends and referring to informative blog articles.
2. Community management in social networks
Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are particularly suitable for the B2C sector, for community management and to address the target group through visual and interactive content. These social networks are also suitable for B2B companies, primarily to stimulate discussion and interaction and encourage customer loyalty. The channels are therefore used less for selling services directly and more for making people aware of the company in general. LinkedIn is more suitable for B2B companies, but can also be interesting for B2C companies, as an employer rather than marketplace.
Scentropy, for example, uses Instagram and Facebook to draw its followers’ attention to its products. On both social media platforms, people are mainly spending their time for private pleasure. For Hybrid Theory, on the other hand, LinkedIn plays a major role in delivering leads as this is where the majority of its potential B2B customers are to be found. The data from the social media analysis outlines that Hybrid Theory achieves better engagement on LinkedIn than on its other channels because its followers appear as representatives of a company and thus potential customers, and not as private individuals. The best-performing post in October ensured that Hybrid Theory generated 37% impressions in relation to the number of followers, while the same and also best-performing post on Facebook generated only about 12%. This is due to the fact that the algorithms of both platforms classify the content of the posts as having different relevance for the audiences.
For Scentropy, most exchange with followers takes place on Instagram and Facebook as these are places most relevant to its non-business related target audiences.
3. Different objectives
B2B and B2C companies differ in their objectives for each platform. For the B2C sector, the positive perception of the brand is in the spotlight. B2B companies on the other hand focus on increasing their web traffic and thus measure the success of their content by leads that they generate by leading people from social media posts to their landing pages.
For these reasons, Appetite Creative’s clients Hybrid Theory and Scentropy have found it worthwhile to adapt the goals and content to the respective social media platform. For example, Hybrid Theory uses Facebook to create brand awareness by informing its audience about current industry topics like statistics that enable the followers to always relate the interesting information to the company. LinkedIn is used to communicate the company’s expertise, with the objective to get in touch with potential customers by showing off concrete solutions for their needs.
The content and objectives on social media should be designed according to whether the company is a B2B or B2C company. However, content should be adapted for the different platforms and their different audiences.
Jenny Stanley, managing director at Appetite Creative.