B2B Social Media Marketing: A True Marriage of Love

Even with a practice of almost 20 years on these social media B2B marketing I’ve even met students who thought I was crazy when I told them that B2B fits very well with affinity networks (and vice versa). So I took this old article to iron it out and launch it again in the blogosphere. So here are my arguments to explain why B2B and social media work so well together.

The love affair between B2B marketing and social media

The love affair between B2B marketing and social media

Paradoxically, what could be considered a difficulty, the reality lies in expert or technical areasin fact one of the great strengths of B2B Marketingand what makes social media fits them like a glove. Let’s see why and how.

B2B marketing is about proving that you are the best, to say it as little as possible.

our book on digital communication where we talk about B2B

First of all, you need to ask yourself what business-to-business marketing is. In a way, it’s pretty simple.

One can be almost cartoonish by saying that it is enough “to be the best”.

What we mean by that is not that you have to “say you are the best”, you just have to prove it, by your ability.

This is business-to-business marketing; experts in a field, expressing their visions, sharing them with others, arousing interest … and then the sales process can take place (usually through a phase called “lead generation” that pass through and a contact).

The success criteria can be summarized as follows:

  • First of all, business-to-business selling is essentially based on a process of providing solutions (in the sense of what Michael T. Bosworth’s Solution Selling describes). To simplify, we can say that in B2B marketing, the most effective way is to document, solve – or even help produce – problems in front of the eyes of customers before they are solved. This type of consultation approach is not feasible for people who have no knowledge of the technology or professional field in which the issue is relevant. Only people who are able to understand the field will be able to express themselves without error. In this case, the communicators primarily have a support role… or an echo chamber when the experts do not have the capacity or time required to express themselves.
  • B2B social media marketingsecond, the interlocutors of these “technicians” are other technicians who also navigate social media, and in particular blogs, to find answers to their questions and problems. When the vendor has documented these problems theshoppers find a real answer to these questions.
  • Third, B2B often affects small, vibrant communities that are very close to each other, often passionate about their farm. Social media is very good in this area, especially around blogs, where we always find a small number of comments but very rich and well documented.
  • fourth, not everyone is able to create content or speak in front of a client, but obviously many technicians, pre-sales specialists, technical salespeople, and so on. already speaking in front of clients, accustomed to speaking in public, writing technical or technical marketing books and designing presentations… The cartoon that the engineer is useless in the presentation is a cliché. Many are good, and often even better than some communicators. So there is only one step to be taken to give them open access to social media, which will allow them to industrialize this word-of-mouth marketing, where they are the custodians of the raw material: the content . Other times, the communicator is able to be with them to help them shape their knowledge, to develop it above all, which is what can make all the difference.
  • B2B social media marketingfifthB2B from an ecosystem approach, classic marketing to word of mouth and that works perfectly business-to-business. The technicians talk to the technicians, and in this case there is no embarrassment or retreat effect, everyone is free to express themselves. (see for example this meeting of bloggers and influencers held for Orange Cloud for Business in late 2014, one of many examples of the spirit of the ecosystem around a unified theme, cloud accounting. picture on the left)
  • sixth, the last thing to do is to force someone to speak publicly when they don’t want to. So it is necessary to identify the most suitable staff, motivate them, and allow them themselves to inspire their neighbors. This is an important viral and participatory approach. Our magic phrase is the frank announcement that “you can never be bloggers, but professional bloggers”. It’s more of a rhetorical formula, it’s a real factor that allows you to overcome the barrier of shyness and give anyone a way to overcome themselves. If this learning process doesn’t work, Visionary Marketing supports its clients to help them shape the problem and avoid the problem of number impact. Technicians or experts may not have time to write and lengthy articles for hours, but they definitely have time to talk to an interviewer for example. There are many healing strategies.

B2B is safe from social media crises

We’ve shown this many times and especially in the book “What digital communication means to my boss”, not all brands are created equal on the Internet. Brands that thrive in business-to-business environments have more chances compared to others, that they are relatively protected from mainstream environments, which bring in a lot of traffic, but have poorer content and more. also exposed to criticism and bad buzz.

In a context where professionals keep professional discussions within their grasp and avoid key topics, therefore, to our knowledge, there is little risk of having a bad “buzz”. “. This can also be explained by the fact that a professional rarely criticizes another professional, because not only does he know that he can tarnish the image of a colleague, but his own image can also be in general, in our 10 years of corporate social media, we’ve only seen one bad B2B buzz generated – very well – by a professional about a brand, which is quick to be extinguished by individual negotiation.

B2B marketing managers: de-stress!

The first thing to do in our opinion is to de-stress B2B marketers; Social media and in particular blogs are made largely for this marketing sector, the risks are much lower than in other fields, especially in the general public and a fortiori all sectors close to health or diet.

Despite the belief that “what to say on B2B social media is never as fun as B2C”, generating interest around B2B is faster than you think.

We need to challenge this accepted idea that B2B is a daunting field and that B2C is very interesting. This is not true, or above all it is a question from a point of view. What would be judged to be “less interesting” is actually the opposite … for people who are targeted by these topics. The topics covered in business-to-business are therefore less interesting but less universal than the topics of consumer marketing. The only difference is that not everyone knows what it is. This has nothing to do with the interest of the subject, on the contrary.

Business-to-business topics are often excitingfor those who know, they combine small communities and relatively small ecosystems but are more knowledgeable about the topics covered in these articles, and subsequent discussions on and off social media are frequent which is most exciting.

B2B social media marketing

Sometimes, too, this difficulty allows workaround strategies to explain to the end customer, in its own language, complex concepts in a clear and user-oriented way, in order to finally communicate with B2B. customer that is usually targeted.

This tactic, known as B2C2B (consumer conversation talking to professional buyer or vice versa) is very powerful and little used in many industry fields other than High Tech which is a pioneer in this field, which follows the work of Regis Mc Kenna in the early 1990s (Mc Kenna’s motto is: “talk to your customers”.

Another fact added to this, is that in B2B, in general, all customers know everything, and this relatively small ecosystem therefore promotes feedback directly from person to person. This makes it possible to use the full potential of social media, ie to achieve a perfect loop between the virtual experience and the real experience.

Business-to-business is undoubtedly the sector that is most likely to use social media correctly, and this with little risk, it’s time to get rid of its prejudices.

Yann Gourvennec
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