451 Marketing prides itself on using inbound marketing solutions for its clients. Likewise, new media guru, author and speaker, Paul Gillin, co-authored his third book titled, Social Marketing to the Business Customer with Eric Schwartzman. This book focuses on the importance of using social marketing to facilitate B2B sales and relationships.
Typically, one would assume that B2C companies would be more active on social media than B2B companies; however, Gillin cites that in late 2009, 81 percent of B2B companies maintained company profiles on social networking sites while only 67 percent of B2C companies were doing so. After reading the first chapter of his book, the reasons why seemed obvious.
B2B businesses can thrive on cost-effective social marketing for a number of reasons. First off, it is all about substance. For a company like Dell whose customers are spending millions of dollars in a single sale, there is no need to waste time and money on glitzy consumer profiles, and fancy advertising. Social marketing brings knowledge sharing and expertise to the forefront, which is what B2B customers are really looking for.
Through a social online presence, B2B companies are able to humanize their brands. When a customer is having problems with a product, he doesn’t want to waste time waiting for a support hotline. He wants to talk directly to the engineers and designers who will understand his specific needs and tailor advice to his particular situation. Allowing customers and experts to freely discuss a product’s shortcomings, and celebrate its successes creates a succinct community that gives the company a personality, and expresses its values. This is especially important for many B2B companies that might come off as cold, heartless, technology corporations. We’ve all heard about companies’ reputations getting slashed online. by angry customers, which obviously is a scary risk, but Gillin thinks it’s well worth it. By taking the risk to empower customers, the company shows confidence and transparency, and humanizes its brand. Continuar leyendo «Thoughts on “Social Marketing to the Business Customer”»