Although using Social Media for marketing in B2C companies may seem like a common strategy, it has been just as common and successful for B2B companies around the world. B2B companies may have taken time to catch up with B2C companies but today, they are just as active in the Social Media sphere. On a closer look, the marketing strategies used to take advantage of Social Media are not all that different for the two organization types.
Using Social Media for B2B has been successful when B2B companies realized that unlike B2C companies, they will be dealing with customers that are competitors. For example, two grocery shops could be buying grocery bags from the same vendor. What this leads to is an enormous increase in accountability and transparency when dealing with customers. As everything through Social Media is out in the open, any deal has gone wrong or an unethical pricing advantage enjoyed by one customer at the expense of another would-be suicide for a B2B company. However, this transparency not only benefits the consumer but the company too as consumers gain trust after repetitive transactions.
American Express using Social Media for B2B
One famous B2B organization earning millions from transparent marketing and selling techniques is the American Express OPEN. With having most of their lent-money-dealing with small businesses online, transparency is what made them successful. According to American Express OPEN, their unique visitors increased from 160,000 in December 2008 to nearly 1 million in December 2009 – a 525% increase which is phenomenal in the economic climate.
Another major component of using social media for B2B marketing is ‘listening’ to your customers. It may seem like a difficult strategy at first and more applicable to B2C companies who have masses of consumers compared to the few customers a B2B company may be dealing with, but the whole idea is to make those few relationships strong. By listening to what a customer has to say, a B2B company can work wonders for itself when trying to tackle competition. Social Media helps you track down this downstream from consumers. Consumers regularly voice their likes and dislike over personal blogs, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. Most of the people buy Instagram likes to increase the visibility of their B2B Company on Instagram. Listening to those voices is direct feedback to a B2B company and can help form an understanding of what is being done wrong.
Microsoft using Social Media for B2B
Microsoft Advertising is one of the few special B2B organizations that achieved enormous success through Social Media, listening and providing. Their community site connected with Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, where they would listen to what different customers wanted in real-time. The usage of Social Media for coverage of important industry events and a growing community where customers were given the chance to directly interact with the B2B business, all was achieved through Social Media and to incredible results that Mel Carson of Microsoft Advertising has spoken of regularly with great enthusiasm.