Many people assume that social marketing strategies found in the B-to-C arena won’t play out in the B-to-B world, which includes industrial markets. They see a dry and logical sales process and a social media stream that’s a continuous list of trade shows and product benefits. After all, it’s all about the facts, right? But the industrial world is filled with real people, too. And while perhaps their business motivations and interests may vary from that of the general consumer market, the key to meeting their needs involves understanding what’s meaningful to them.
Building relationships with customers through social media is not limited to those businesses that court retail consumers. Outside of the general product information and updates, many of our B-to-B clients share posts that reflect the great American values on which they have built their companies – hard work, integrity, dependability. They tap into the interests of their employees and customers, like the outdoors and technology. And they reveal who they are as people behind the business.
Additionally, while facts are important to our client’s customers, they don’t want a flat list of numbers coupled with sales pitches. They appreciate information that helps them really understand the product and its make-up. They have lively minds looking to discern the most effective products for their businesses.
Of course, the first step for a company is to “know thyself.” That is, to understand the values, priorities, mission and vision of the organization. We work with our clients through a Brand Development Workshop to help them identify these elements and determine what’s important to their customers. Their marketing and social media reflect this “deeper” brand.
Relationships are built on trust, and to establish that, a company must provide a genuine face to the world. Reflection and exercises to help them determine and record exactly what– and who– they are, is key. When these results are played out in the realm of social media, the company’s circle of influence continues to expand. This movement holds as true for B-to-B players as those in the B-to-C realm. In turn, through this profound understanding of our clients and their customers’ needs, we are able to develop and manage their social media as extensions of the companies themselves. Industrial social marketing doesn’t have to be dry and dull – it can be full of fascinating facts, ideas and meaning.