How Does B2B Social Media Marketing Differ From B2C?

By Rhonda Bradley / 5 March 2019

Learn how B2B and B2C brands differ in their approach to social media marketing.

Social media marketing is a highly effective tool for B2B brands. However, the goals, strategies, and content for B2B differ greatly from that of B2C brands.

These differences have a significant impact on how brands form goals, strategies, and content plans for social media.

In this article, we’ll show you how B2B social media marketing is different from B2C, and offer some tips for building a strong B2B social media presence.

B2B Social Media Marketing Goals

While B2C brands typically use social media to drive traffic, sales, and awareness, successful B2B social media channels are more likely to focus on brand development and lead generation.

B2B brands also take advantage of the many business opportunities social media has to offer.

For example, a recent report by Social Media Examiner found that more than half of all B2B marketers are more likely to use social media to grow partnerships and gain competitor insights than their B2C counterparts.

These differences play a crucial role in crafting B2B social media marketing strategies that attract and engage audiences.

B2B Social Media Marketing Strategies

An overwhelming amount of top-performing B2B content marketers put their audience's informational needs first, according to a recent report by Content Marketing Institute.

Unlike B2C brands whose purpose is to drive traffic, sales, and popularity through social media, B2B brands stay focused on serving their audience and positioning themselves as thought leaders within their industries.

For example, B2B email software company Mailchimp shares tips on how to grow your business on its Facebook page.

Mailchimp Facebook image

Mailchimp also engages its audiences with user-generated content. In the example below, the company shares feedback from a survey in a fun and engaging video format.

Mailchimp Facebook ad 2

B2C social media marketing often strives to stand out by creating something different or unique. 

B2B companies stand out by trying to be better than their competition, or the best in their industry.

Social Media Examiner also discovered that when it comes to the most popular social channels for marketing, Facebook and LinkedIn are the first two choices for B2B marketers. 

More than 90% of B2B marketers use Facebook and nearly 80% use LinkedIn as their primary social media channels

Although B2B marketing is more information-driven, that doesn’t mean B2B social media content has to be boring. 

Like B2C audiences, B2B crowds appreciate elements that make content more engaging, such as:

  • Stand-out visuals
  • Storytelling
  • Compelling headlines
  • Empathy

In one Content Marketing Institute report, MarketingProfs Chief Content Officer Ann Handley says “Nurturing an audience requires us to dig deep to understand who they really are – to be truly curious about them” 

“When we speak with our customers with empathy, as their peers, we develop camaraderie – they are no longer just ‘target markets,’ ‘personas,’ or ‘segments,’” Handley continued.

It’s important for B2B brands to continue with strategies that put information first while striving to establish thought leadership. However, the more human aspects of communication are also crucial to B2B social media strategy.

B2B Social Media Marketing Content

B2B audiences consume content that helps them stay informed about business and industry trends, according to a recent study by Clutch. 

The B2B crowd prefers blogs and reviews to any other form of content, and most of their audiences (over 80%) look for that content on social media.

One way to share your blog posts is by introducing an article with a brief fact, followed by a question that encourages readers to engage with your post.

For example, HubSpot shares a link and image to one of their blog post articles, preceded by the question “How much time do you spend reading sales blogs?” 

HubSpot LinkedIn post

Other types of content that B2B audiences love includes:

  • Podcasts
  • Infographics
  • Webinars
  • Videos

B2B social media marketers should focus their efforts on providing social media content that helps their audience be more productive and successful with their businesses. 

For example, B2B cloud services company Oracle is active on Twitter, where it shares a variety of content types. 
Below, its information-heavy content about SaaS essentials is turned into an attractive yet organized infographic.

Oracle Tweet 1

In another tweet, Oracle presents an industry report by creating an attractive, eye-catching image.

Oracle Tweet 2

The company also invests in social causes, which makes for plenty of social media-friendly announcements.

Oracle Tweet 3

When creating B2B content for social media, you can make it appealing and still maintain your professionalism. 

B2B Social Media Marketing Best Practices

According to B2B social media marketing agency Altitude, the following best practices will help your B2B brand succeed on social media:

  • Use appropriate social networks.
  • Keep your branding and tone consistent across all platforms.
  • Set up workflows for welcoming new followers, managing support requests, and engaging with influencers.

Experiment on different social networks, recording the types of content that spark attention and engagement. 

Familiarize yourself with the insights and analytics available on the different social channels, so you can get to know your audience and track what’s working best.

Remember to put your customers’ needs above self-promotion, and offer content that helps them improve on the job they’re doing and keeps them informed about their industry.

Take a Different Approach When Posting B2B Content to Social Media

Social media is an excellent way to build relationships with other businesses. 

B2B goals, strategy, and content are different from B2C because B2B content should be created to serve the audience, and is often informational in nature.

Including attractive images, compelling headlines, and storytelling or empathy into your social media content is an excellent way to keep your audience engaged and your brand memorable.

With the right goals, strategy, content, and best practices, your B2B brand can successfully generate leads and develop relationships through social media marketing.

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