How to Navigate B2B and B2C Social Media Marketing

How to Navigate B2B and B2C Social Media Marketing

For B2B and B2C marketers, social media often feels like it will never settle down. Just as marketers get comfortable with sites like MySpace, Digg and Flicker, new social networking sites pop up and change the face of social media marketing, leaving marketers in both camps annoyed and without a map.

Still, social media marketing can be highly effective, though varies greatly depending on whether you're promoting B2B or B2C. Different platforms and tactics are far more successful depending on which type of marketing you're performing.

Not sure whether to use Twitter for B2B or LinkedIn for B2C? Read on to learn how you can utilise social media marketing no matter who your audience is.

Know Your Platforms

Before you go start making accounts on any social media website, you should have a firm grasp at how each platform operates, what its main uses are, and how you can interact with your audience.

If you're focusing on B2B marketing, having a LinkedIn profile is essential. This site is geared towards businesses and professionals. You won't find any cat videos here (Okay, maybe a few). Create your profile and have your employees connect with the page through their own personal profiles. This shows camaraderie in your company and encourages employees to interact with the page, which gets it more attention.

Now you can use your profile to search for and interact with other businesses in your area as well as at the national and global levels. Encourage your customers to leave positive comments if they have good things to say. By using LinkedIn as a networking tool, you'll have better control over how other companies in your area perceive you.

In addition to LinkedIn, Twitter and Google+ have also proven to be effective in B2B marketing. Twitter allows you to share news and information with a large audience easily, and Google+ makes you business more searchable while providing basic information like office hours and such.

For B2C marketers, a Facebook profile is a good start. With over a billion people managing profiles, there are a lot of opportunities to reach out to consumers by posting new information, asking questions and sharing videos or images. Facebook allows consumers to easily interact with your product and provide useful feedback.

Along with Facebook, Pinterest has been wildly successful over the last few years. This site is mostly visual, allowing you to give your product its proper showcase. Twitter has also been useful for B2C marketers for the same reasons B2B marketers love it: it lets you create a meaningful dialogue with your consumer base.

To Blog or Not to Blog

Keeping a blog can be demanding. It requires an update, usually 1,000 words, at least twice a week, if you want to keep it high in Google search results, and your content has to remain fresh and useful or else no one will read it. For marketing purposes, you may wonder how much blogging can really help you, and the answers differ depending on your goals.

To Blog Or Not To Blog

Blogging is highly useful for B2B marketing because it gives you the tools to make yourself into an expert in your field. Your customers will want to return to your website often in order to get the latest news on your subject or learn how to do something. For example, a plumbing business might post blog articles about how to prepare pipes for the winter so they don't freeze or about a tradeshow that they'll be attending soon.

More than an expert, you can use a blog to make yourself (and your company) appear more personable and friendly. This is your chance to interact with readers and treat them as equal. That's why all of your blogging content should be written with novices in mind. They might not understand all the jargon just yet. It's your job to teach them first.

Marketers doing B2C work should also embrace this powerful tool, as it really does help with search results, but there are other ways to use blogs for B2C marketing. Blogs give companies the chance to go viral and spread like wildfire around the Internet. A witty blog post could go a long way.

But nowadays, blogging is only a piece of the B2C blog. The companies who are most successful with B2C blog marketing are using videos and images to make their content more attractive. They're creating funny, intriguing and engaging videos to capture attention and posting photos from events and photo shoots to make their consumers feel like they're part of the action.

Both marketers can use a blog to establish themselves, but their uses for the blog vary slightly. Try it out and see how you can blog your way to the top.

Track Your Traffic

Just like traffic on the highway, people interact with social media at different times of the day. You can use this knowledge to make sure your content is seen at the most opportune moments and by the right people.

B2B marketers will find their audience is up early and already perusing their social media site of choice. That's why it's so important to post content between 7 am and 6 pm Monday through Friday. People are logging on while waiting for the train or the bus. They want to know what's new before they get to work. Twitter is often a favorite afternoon enjoyment. People like to scroll through while taking a break.

Monitor traffic, even on mobile.

Marketers focusing on B2C have it easy. There never is a slow time for B2C marketing. Somewhere in the world, your audience is logged on and looking for amusement. Facebook is popular in the morning and early afternoon. Twitter is best for the afternoons and evenings while Pinterest catches the late crowd, too enticed by new shoes or delicious-looking cupcakes to sleep.

Even if you can't stand Facebook or you have no idea if anyone is even on Google+, it's impossible to deny that the social media trend is fading. If anything, it's evolving and gaining momentum. As more people engage with companies online, there will always be a strong need for social media marketing whether it's in the B2B or B2C sector.

Now you just have to tap into it.

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Michael Bird is Co-Founder and Director of Strategy at Social Garden, a Social Media Marketing, Content Development, and SEO Agency based in Melbourne, Australia. You can connect with Mike on Google+, Twitter, or click through to check out the Social Garden Blog.