In this article, you’ll learn what the growth of social media means for B2B businesses. Why it can’t be ignored and why it must be fully embraced because the conversation is going to happen whether or not you participate.
Key takeaways: Social media for B2B organizations
- B2B buyers are doing their own research and social media is one of their main tools. Social media has replaced word of mouth and buyers now talk to their peers digitally.
- Social media has replaced word of mouth and buyers now talk to their peers digitally.
- Behind every B2B buyer is a person. People buy from people and social media allows vendors the opportunity to humanize their message.
- Social media is the most transparent channel businesses have ever encountered. Individual customers can both positively and negatively impact your reputation and brand.
- Being active on social media helps B2B organizations shape the conversation.
Social media for B2B organizations
B2B buyers are completing an increasing amount of the purchasing journey themselves. A large chunk of this research is completed online using search and social. Talking to peers has always been an important step in making a B2B purchase, this is now happening online, through social media and your business needs to be part of the conversation.
B2B social media trends
Behind every B2B buyer is a person, an individual who visits Facebook has a profile on LinkedIn and checks their Twitter timeline multiple times a day. People buy from people, and when it comes to business-to-business (B2B) versus business to consumer (B2C) lines are becoming blurred. Social media allows vendors to speak directly to the people involved in the purchasing decision. Expectations of business buyers are being shaped by what they experience as consumers. Cis an increasingly personal relationship with organizations through digital channels. No channel is more personal than social media.
Professional and business lives are increasingly merging, the traditional boundaries of home and work are disappearing. Yes, we may all use Facebook as more of a way to stay in touch with friends and LinkedIn as our professional profile, but as individuals, we don’t switch mindsets between the two. Our professional mindset can be influenced by what we see and read in our personal world.
Conversations both positive and negative are happening in social media and people talking about your brand, your product, and your service. Being a B2B doesn’t insulate you from this very transparent communications channel. Being part of the conversation helps businesses shape the conversation.
How can B2B organizations use social media?
Businesses can use social media to communicate with current and future customers. Social media is a low-cost way of communicating with prospects and customers on a channel they are already familiar with, bypassing the crowded inbox.
Companies can use social media to collaborate with their audience and to generate content. Many businesses are enabling their customers to contribute to things like support forums. This new level of customer empowerment helps reduce operational costs while boosting customer advocacy.
What are the benefits of social media for B2B’s?
Social media gives businesses the opportunity to communicate with their audience through a more intimate and direct channel than ever before. It comes with many benefits to the organization that aims to leverage it to its full potential:
- Sales teams can now use it to understand the customer better. Starting and building a relationship even before the first sales visit.
- Social media gives businesses the opportunity to amplify their messages and build their brands.
- Businesses can use social media to improve their products and services. There is a direct channel of feedback from customers.
Risks of social media
Social media is the most transparent channel businesses have ever encountered. Individual customers can both positively and negatively impact your reputation and brand. A negative customer complaint true or not can be difficult to recover from if it’s not dealt with correctly. This may put you off participating at all, however, as a business, you are better off facing and heading off negative sentiments than not being involved. The conversation about your products and business will happen regardless of your presence.
Social media risks can arise from customers but can also be due to your employee actions and behavior. Clear policies and guidelines for your employees in a social world is critical. An employee could easily leak out sensitive information or damage the brand, on purpose or inadvertently. Your customers are all connected, and so are all your employees.