Most people think that social media tools should only be used in ordinary business-to-customer (B2C) marketing, since they are more informal and personal and are tailored for audiences who are likely to make impulse purchases. However, avoiding social media means that you are missing out on many useful marketing tools and strategies.
Here are five reasons why using social media for business-to-business marketing is essential.
1. B2C benefits of social media apply to B2B too
Social media are great tools to use regardless of the type of business. Marketing through social media is affordable, personal, targeted and direct.
All of these factors are equally important to B2B marketing and are guaranteed to make your overall marketing strategy more cost effective and efficient.
2. Businesses are people too
It is sometimes easy to overlook that your client businesses are run by people who enjoy and respond well to social media.
Since one of the most effective ways to reach people is through social, interactive and personalised means, social media make your B2B strategy much more accessible to the individuals making the purchasing decisions at other businesses.
3. Social media builds long-term trust
Having an active and engaging social media strategy is a large element of building a reputable brand image. If other businesses see your activity frequently, they will begin to trust your business over the long term. Your business will appear supportive, legitimate and enduring.
While it won’t happen instantly, this goodwill will build and will become incredibly valuable. Since most B2B business happens over extended sales cycles, this longevity will make you appear trustworthy.
4. You can leverage communities
There are many ways that you can use community building, a vital component of social media, to your advantage.
Most importantly, recommendations spread quickly between trusted contacts and one good mention in a business community can boost you considerably.
Aside from this, you can show off your specialist knowledge, network effectively and provide visible support – all good marketing and business tools.
5. Tune in to what businesses want
Another big benefit of using social media is that you can listen – and respond – to what other businesses are saying. Participating in these discussions will let you know what you are doing right and wrong, what recommendations you can implement, and may even give you ideas for new, desirable products and services that are in demand.
To learn more about social media business strategies, consider the University of Cape Town Internet Marketing course, which starts on 16 July 2012. Contact Amyjane on 021 447 7565 firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.getsmarter.co.za.
Follow Women24 on Twitter.