As any builder or mechanic will tell you, it’s important to use the right tools for a certain job. Sure, you can hang a picture on a nail using only a socket wrench, but it’s going to take more time and not work as well. In recent years, social media marketing has become a sort of omni-tool for marketers with just about every business engaged in some form of social media. A new study shows that while social media marketing is a great tool for all business owners, it’s a more effective tool for marketing to consumers than when marketing to other businesses.
Clutch and Smart Insights recently surveyed more than 350 marketing professionals to see how they felt about social media marketing. It should come as little surprise that the professionals found value in their social campaigns. However, when broken down by the type of marketing being done, it becomes clear that these professionals believed social media marketing works better for business to consumer (B2C) marketing more than business to business (B2B) marketing.
According to the report, nearly 60 percent of the B2C companies surveyed report that social media helps increase their revenue and sales, compared to 46 percent of B2B companies. While it’s comforting that a majority of business are seeing a return on investment from their social media campaigns, the data does give B2B marketers reason to pause and rethink their efforts.
Before anyone throws the baby out with the bathwater, this data doesn’t mean that social media marketing is useless for B2B marketing. If more than 40 percent of B2B marketers think that social media produces positive returns for their business, it’s important to look at what they’re doing a business can be among the B2B social media winners.
One thing marketers should take away from this report is the need to tailor social media campaigns to each specific business. The things that make effective content for B2B marketing isn’t the same kind of content that works best for B2C marketing. Everyday consumers have different interests and concerns than the decision makers at businesses.
The need for a change in tactics is something that the researchers noted when discussing the implications of their data.
“B2B lends itself to curated content, where brands can help their audience by sharing curated news and best practice content to help individuals develop their skills and careers,” said Smart Insights CEO Dave Chaffey. “In B2C, there is less scope for sharing news and advice, so instead, brands tend to share more original content related to their products and services.”
This difference in content types for B2B and B2C marketing can be seen in the data from Clutch and Smart Insights. According to the report, B2C companies (82 percent) also tend to post more original content to social media than B2Bs (74 percent). This may seem like a minor difference in percentage, but considering the millions of pieces of content uploaded to social media everyday, an 8 percent difference in the amount of original content will affect the look and tone of B2B social media marketing channels compared to B2C ones.
Besides choosing the right content type, it’s also important to choose the right platforms. While both B2B and B2C marketers found Facebook to be the most useful platform, platforms like Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn varied greatly in their usefulness depending on the marketing type. Consumers on LinkedIn are more likely to be thinking about business matters than someone on Instagram.
For more recent research that can help business owners create better marketing campaigns, read this article on the value of coupons for driving consumers to action.