“One size does not fit all” holds good for B2B vs. B2C social media metrics. Because B2C businesses seek to sell one to many and B2B sells one to one, the key metrics are likely to differ. For instance, e-commerce site considers traffic, source and conversions as important metrics, while, a business solutions company, is likely to consider unique visitors, opinions and discussions, downloads, contact information and industry data as important metrics. According to an eMarketer study, B2B online marketers focus on lead generation (38%), retention (34%) and awareness. B2B social media marketing is ultimately about leads when compared to B2C social media marketing which lays emphasis on awareness and branding.

Different Platforms for Different Needs

Since B2B buyers are more complex when compared to B2C buyers, the social media strategy and the effectiveness metrics for B2B entails more focus on positioning and the choice of platform. While B2C buyers can easily be drawn by promos or freebies on Facebook or Twitter, decisions of B2B buyers are more calculated and linked to various factors. Customer service is also likely to continue with a B2B buyer even after sales or service.  You won’t find the manager of your favorite café on LinkedIn but you are sure to find the manager of the company you are doing business with on LinkedIn. This example illustrates the difference in usage of social media platforms between B2B and B2C companies. The platform of choice for your favorite café is probably Facebook, where they can promote deals and also get fans to spread the word. On the other hand, B2B companies need to be more disciplined and professional with their approach. With over 150,000 business professionals on LinkedIn, it is clearly the platform of choice for a company seeking business exposure and networking.

What are the differences marketers see in B2B and B2C Social Media while measuring the ROI? 

Both B2B and B2C marketers are seeking the adrenaline rush of social media. With consumers spending so much time on social media websites, savvy marketers are beginning to tap into these sites as a free, viral marketing avenue. A study found that 93 per cent of B2B marketers use social media to market their businesses, it still lags behind B2C (95.2 per cent). The study also proved that B2B acquired more new business partnerships (56 per cent B2B, 45 per cent B2C), saw improved search rankings (60 per cent B2B, 50 per cent B2C) and were able to gather increased marketing place insights due to their social media efforts (69 per cent B2B, 60 per cent B2C). For a B2B company, the company’s position or major issues in the industry are relevant and engaging content for social media distribution. For instance, a blog post about an upcoming trade show and things to watch out for shared on LinkedIn or other business networking sites is likely to draw visitors to the blog post.  Following that, occasional posts promoting products will be popular too, since readers recognize the profile as an industry expert. For B2C, buyers’ needs are simpler, allowing companies to promote deals and socials via social media platforms. Less informative but more selling is involved when a B2C company uses social media. They rely on social media marketing for branding and PR while B2B social media marketing is ultimately about the number of leads.

At blueocean we believe even a few closed leads in a week will justify the time and expenditure spent on social media for B2B companies while B2C companies will calculate ROI based on branding, conversations and brand favorability.

Image Courtesy : mcolemail(Flickr.com)


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