Companies have long thought that social media could be only used in B2C. When you think about the major social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Digg, they seem to target individuals, consumers. But their use become different and above all social media is not just that. The core definition of social media is a two way sharing between a company and a buyer, a customer, another company.
But even if you can use the same platforms for B2B it’s not in the same way, the strategy is different because the target is different. You have also to use other kind of social media. For B2B companies, social media is primarily about interaction and knowledge sharing.
Especially for B2B social media it’s not just about a campaign but it’s a long commitment.
What the difference in Facebook ?
The Facebook page of Coca Cola or Starbucks are designed and built to show their products, entertained consumers and interact with them to know what next product they would like to have. But for B2B, companies has to sell and show their expertise. That’s why Dell create a Facebook group for small businesses. People can interact together to share knowledge first and maybe solutions afterwards.
How brands create their own social media tools and platforms ?
One of the best solution for B2B is to create a newsroom. Because it’s either for professionals, customers, journalists, companies. Cisco’s newsroom is very good, you can find podcasts, videos, press releases, pictures, blogs, links through Facebook, Twitter… They present themselves as a very social company because the employees in their social media sphere are the cornerstone.
IBM is a good example of dedicated platforms. They have created a blogs community, showing their specialities in the social media are.
HSBC choose to open a social media platform for small businesses. Anyone can create a profile and share questions and thoughts about business. They can also create business events.
Even a company like Mittal Arcelor enter in social media showing the company through videos (behind the scenes), opening a blog.
Even if it’s hard to calculate the ROI of those activities, it seems obvious to say social media change the image of a brand, and that creates also an easiest way to interact from companies to companies… Barriers are fallen…
Some very interesting posts about Social media B2B: