As I have witnessed time and time again, it is customary to say that B2C is more adapted to the use of social media than B2B . As matter of fact, I am not at all certain that this is true. The fact that there are fewer B2B examples of the use of social media is probably due to the maturity of that sector with regard to the use of technology and has nothing to do in my eyes with the fact that it is not adapted to social media.
Here are 7 reasons why I think this is the case:
- for social media to have an impact, one has to foster collaboration and develop a community feeling. This is typically done through the mixing of three main ingredients: passion, help between members and mutual benefit. These ingredients are usually very commonplace amongst existing b2B communities,
- B2B communities are niche and they are about passionate experts who can debate about fairly specific subjects in great detail. Comments may be few and far between but rewarding,
- the ability to include customers in the definition of a new service, has been a staple of B2B marketing for donkeys years. Customer advisory boards, Product and Client User Groups are very commonplace in B2B environments,
- B2B is less exposed than B2C:. Hence B2B players are running fewer risks when engaging in online collaboration than B2C players; there are few B2B equivalents to the Kryptonite or Nestlé blogstorms,
- in the B2B world , in most cases, co-creation has already been old hat for a long long time. As a matter of fact, most business to business offers are and have been developed in close partnership with clients and third-party value add providers. Comments in social media aimed at improving products are mostly welcome,
- TV and outdoor advertising is out of reach for most B2B companies. Hence the importance of digital and social media. Indeed amongst B2B high-tech companies, it is even very commonplace that they use nothing else but digital to do advertising,
- B2B business is made of ecosystems. Social media is ideal for fostering discussions and brand advocacy through such ecosystems.
B2B as a result is, in my eyes, well adapted to social media and even probably more so than B2C even though B2B subjects will – barring a few exceptions – never reach the headlines. So much the better I would say, because this is also what keeps trolls at bay! Agencies solely focused on B2C should also give it a thought and start paying attention to B2B customers and prospective customers, as well as hone their skills in the area of business to business.