Small business have a belief social media marketing is for business to consumers.
“My customers are not on social — we are business to business” Is like the proverbial broken record going round and round in my head. At this time it is elevated to mythological proportions.
There’s many business myths — business owners get rich quick; build it and they will come; successful business owners are lucky; it gets easier. Now it’s time we add social media is not for B2B.
Getting lost is inevitable if you believe the hearsay, rumours and hype. Lets begin debunking the social is not for B2B myth shall we?
Myth – I’m B2B and my Customers are not on Social Media.
“I’m selling business to business and none of my customers are on social media, therefore, I don’t need it”.
Lets put some perspective on the myth that social is only for B2C. The reality is B2B social media marketing is more important than for B2C businesses – for a number of reasons.
Let me explain
*There are fewer overall customers in the B2B market/space, compared to B2C.
Each of your prospects/customers has more influence and leverage on their peers compared to B2C. It’s simple math. Think about customers to total number of prospects and the ratio is higher for B2B. So each person has greater influence over potential customers.
*B2B is a highly considered purchase.
There are multiple stakeholders in the B2B purchase decision process. A B2B buyer does not walk down the grocery store aisle and say ‘I’ll have some ERP with a dash of Salesforce’. The B2B purchase is a highly considered purchase with multiple signatures, stakeholders, and vendors.
*You have greater visibility into your funnel because there are fewer overall customers.
Social provides the opportunity, and the advantage, of multiple points touch along the buyers journey. A B2B customer will read web pages, download whitepaper, listen to podcasts, and attend webinars among other activity to gain knowledge. These are touch points to gain intelligence, build brand affinity and develop a relationship.
Businesses to consumers have very limited visibility on the touch points customer have with the brand. Retail businesses only see that another 22 cans/bags/dresses sold, not who purchased them etc.
*B2B customers are holding off contacting vendors until 75% through their internal vendor selection process – Sirius Decision.
A massive change has occurred in the last dozen years or so. The rise of freely available knowledge, greater competition and business publishing more info has shifted the power into the hands of the customers. Gone are the days when sales were the gate keepers of knowledge spoon-feeding prospects along a path dictated by their internal sales process and training.
Prospects are using more data (content marketing) to help make their purchasing decisions. Therefore, tracking prospects, as they download a report, share a post, tweet, +1, etc., are increasing importing insight detailing where in the funnel the prospect is at. Software vendors have made great strides recently integrating search data, social touch points and internal tracking with CRM tools. Collectively this knowledge is providing greater insights into what prospects are doing. Which is invaluable and only provides more knowledge and help business offer products and services people want and need.
The Late Majority will Suffer
I am not suggesting nor advocating every B2B company move ‘all in’ on social. But, social media has passed the ‘it’s a fad’ test many years ago. It is not to late to set up a presence and foster a community on social.
A competitive advantage can still be achieved. Your customers are already on social, let them know you are also and build that community.
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