Social media seems so natural now for B2C companies. If your target market is consumers, Facebook especially is an ideal platform to communicate with them, and build brand awareness and loyalty with frequent promotions. Contests, sweepstakes, special discounts for fans, coupons- consumers love those (who doesn’t like free gifts?) and social networking sites are the ideal platform for this type of offers.
In the B2B space, things are a little different. If your target market is businesses, you can’t run the same promotions as a consumer-facing company. In fact, in many cases Facebook won’t be the best platform for you, because people tend to spend time there as individuals, not as decision makers in an organization.
Still, B2B companies should not ignore social media. Most would benefit from a Twitter account, where they can communicate with decision makers, clients and industry analysts. LinkedIn is great for B2B companies – you can start your own LinkedIn group, and you can join existing, relevant groups and promote your stuff there – corporate blog posts are the ideal material for LinkedIn groups. Just remember to keep your posts varied – if you always push your own content and never promote others’, or if you never engage in conversation, people will quickly learn to tune you out.
While I don’t usually recommend a Facbeook page for my B2B clients, for some it actually might be a good platform. For example, I had a recent inquiry from the creators of a social network for hair stylists. Although their target market is professionals and business owners, in this case I felt that because of the nature of the businesses involved, Facebook was actually a suitable platform.
The easiest way to determine if you need to have a presence somewhere in the social media world is to ask yourself, “Are my prospects using this network? Industry analysts, reviewers, journalists? What about my competitors – do they have a presence on these networks?” If the answer to one or more of these is “Yes,” then you should definitely be there too.