If you have had the opportunity to work for a B2B company or if you are working in one of these….Have you heard: “Social Media is just for B2C”….”Our customers do not pay attention to Social Media”….”Investing in Social Media is a waste of time and money”…..Well, I have, and this is the main reason to write about this topic.
My entire professional life have been in B2B and in the past I used to hear these phrases, however, I have noticed a little but continue change in the way executive people in B2B companies think about Social Media. Some years ago it was almost impossible to include a Social Media strategy as a part of the marketing plan, but now, executive people are the ones who are asking for Social Media strategies and in this way, important parts of the marketing plan budget is being dedicated to these strategies….A BIG CHANGE!
I found an interesting article in Forbes titled “B2B Marketers Need To Get Real About Social Media and Customer Engagement“, this article mentions how customers, regardless their specialties, are changing so fast with Social Media, faster than companies, specially B2B ones.
B2B companies are used to share information with customers through excel sheets or some slides in power point presentations, however, customers are now demanding new ways of learning, interactive ones through which they can ask and receive feedback…and Social Media is an excellent channel to satisfy this demand, so B2B companies are realizing about this and they are now developing their skills about Social Media to reach these customers and to create relationships with them that go beyond the technical field, that are focused on branding.
At the end, establishing emotional connections with customers and positive relations with them (regardless the type of businesses) is the best way to start building loyalty and to differentiate the brand from competitors.
Through my research, I also found another interesting article published by The Wall Street called “Manufacturers Sign on To Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter“, this article stated that about 68% of companies that sell products or services to other businesses said they engaged in social media marketing. Pretty good number for these kind of companies!...
The article also mentions the following examples of companies engage with Social Media:
- Etratech Inc., an Electronics contract manufacturer began using LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and YouTube in 2012.
- Caterpillar, the Construction and mining equipment manufacturer has developed separate Facebook sites for various constituencies, such as construction, power generation, paving, and financial services. Caterpillar also reaches customers with YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+.
Both are excellent examples about how B2B companies are moving into the Social Media era, about how they are changing their minds from just being “solving problems companies” to “companies connected with their customers in order to understand their needs and help them with their problems”.
However, there is still long way to go for these companies, they need to fully commit with a two-way interaction with their customers, they need to believe that Social Media is not a trend, it is a reality that is here to stay, to be part of the business, so companies need not just to give part of their budgets in Social Media Strategies, they need to involve their people in this, to compromise resources to connect people day-to-day, they need to integrate Social Media into their DNA.