B2B & Social Media Marketing
B2B is defined as the selling of goods, products or services from one business to another. This occurs when:
• A business sources materials to another business for production process. E.g. – A food manufacturer purchasing artificial colors.
• A business sources the needs to other business for operations. E.g. – An accountancy firm to audit the financials of the food company.
• A business sells products/services to others. E.g. – Food company sells the final products to the retailers.
There are many definitions to B2B. Hague et. al defined B2B as meeting the requirements of other businesses in which the ultimate demand is driven by the consumers.
For any B2B organization, lead generation is the most important. Social Media marketing is another tool that helps in the increase in lead generation of an organization. B2B Social Media marketing is new tool of marketing that is integrated with the current marketing strategies to make your work smarter instead of harder. A simple framework regardless of the platform is required for successful implementation of social media strategy leading to sales generation.
Regular Content Creation – Maintaining a calendar that outlines monthly creation and distribution of all lead generation through social channels should be shared across all channels of social media.
Consistent Sharing – Understanding how information is consumed across social media channels is the key to success. Most of the people opt to use only one social media platform to get the latest information of the organizations. Sharing common data across all the channels with customization according to the platform helps in building social discussion and certain discussion topics.
Dedicated Monitoring – Different monitoring tools and web analytics should be used by marketers providing feedback and also for improving social media lead generation. Different tools range from free tools such as Google alerts, Twitter search, Board Reader to paid tools such as Alterian, CoTweet Enterprise. Monitoring doesn't support one single person doing all these activities but refers to the involvement of marketing department as a team to collect and infer from each campaign.
Prioritized Engagement – Every social media mention does not a response. One of the key principle that businesses need to understand. All marketing strategies are constraint by the number of people and the cost involved. If there's time, then respond to all the posts. Else prioritizing social media engagement on factors such as influencers, reach or dissatisfaction. Customer Relationship Management tools should be engaged when replying to post on social media.
The Opportunities and benefits obtained from the social media depends on successful implementation of effective media marketing strategy (Barnes, 2010). Past researches has proved that digital environment/social media can be used to achieve different goals in the B2B sectors. There are majority of implications that B2B companies can take advantage of from social media platforms such as:
• Reduce costs by increasing the efficiency of exchanges in terms of communications and transactions (Sharma, 2002; Walters, 2008).
• Social media enable B2B companies to built their brand and share the product information creating brand and product awareness, improving brand attitude and increasing customer's purchase intentions (Drèze and Hussherr, 2003; Manchanda et al., 2006).
• The social media is the new platform to interact and build relationship with customers (Bauer et al., 2002).
• Generating new sales leads by driving traffic to website and improving on existing customer services leading to increase in sales (Welling and White, 2006).
According to Bodnar and Cohen (2011), social media marketing benefits more to B2B organizations than B2C. They five reason that support their argument are:
1. Clearly Understanding the Customers – B2B marketers are much more close to their customers than B2C marketers. The B2B marketers go far beyond the demographic data and have defined and detailed identities for each prospects they are working with. This high level of clarity and familiarity is a major advantage in the social media marketing.
2. Subject Matter Expertise in Depth – B2B organizations develop new industries or innovate new products or modify the current products. This traditionally signifies the expertise of the B2B organization in a particular field. Social media platforms are often used for educating purposes, having the knowledge is a clear edge in the hunt of the social media marketing success.
3. Generating Higher Revenue with Lower Marketing Budgets – B2B organizations and marketers are always looking for value on a quest to maximize cost per lead. Social media platforms help to reduce this cost and enables the organization to benefit more. Smaller budgets and less no. of employees can generate high leads for the company.
4. Sales based on Relationship – Building network and maintaining relationships are the key in maintaining B2B sales process. Building strong relationship with the customer is critical when large purchase prices and lengthy sales cycle is involved. The social media platforms help to build relationships throughout sales and marketing cycle to improve lead quality and reduce sales cycle.
5. Experience and practice of social media – B2B marketers have long been doing social practice without their knowledge such as publishing newsletters, quarterly magazines, and other marketing tactics that are similar to social media marketing methods. The history tells us about the marketers telling business-focused stories and educating customers with information.
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