One of the major factors in determining a marketing strategy is whether the company is a Business-to-Business (B2B) or Business-to-Customer (B2C) type company. Traditionally, these two different business types require completely different marketing models. Then came Social Media. And everyone kept asking the same question when they designed their online marketing plans. The problems with this approach, is that Social Media doesn’t differentiate. Ask anyone familiar with Social Media success and they’ll tell you the key to Social Media is relationships and engagement with the audience. Companies are not engaging on Social Media, their PEOPLE are. So rather than look at online marketing as B2B or B2C, we need to start looking at it as Business-to-People (B2P).
Some of the most “successful” companies online are traditonal B2B companies. (I use the term successful to mean high levels of engagement with their followers.) While this may seem strange, they’ve succeeded because they focus on people, not the companies they sell to. Take a look at some of these companies and you’ll see their success: Intel, Hubspot, and General Electric. These companies have found ways to provide valuable information to people – information that they use, share, and comment on. Remember, buildings aren’t buying services, corporations aren’t talking about the latest tools. It’s all about the people inside these buildings and corporations.
There are so many different types of companies that fall into both B2B and B2C categories that succeed on Social Media platforms. And it has everything to do with how they interact with their audiences. We need to be creative, engaging, valuable, and reliable in order to be successful. These factors are based on relationships, not marketing. We need to think about the people who are following our pages, the people we want to have following our pages, and who makes up our customers and audience. We need to determine what this audience wants from us, what they want to talk about, what they find useful. Once this has been determined, we can start to build a community and sustain relationships with these people. It’s a long term commitment, not speed-dating. It takes time to gain their trust. It takes time to build a strong following.
So when you sit down to develop or revise your Social Media strategy, remember, it’s Business-to-People. Design your strategy with this in mind and you’ll quickly be on your way to success!