B2B social media: Falling behind or just different?

October 17, 2016



We take a look some B2B social media campaigns that have really made a splash amid claims that B2B is falling behind in the social media stakes.

What is Social Media Week?

In its 8th year, Social Media Week is a news platform and worldwide conference that brings together leading brands to curate and share insights into how social media and technology are changing business, society and culture around the world. Spanning across B2B and B2C, social media is undoubtedly a targeted and measureable way of reaching the key audiences for any sector, be it on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat to name a few. Social media pitches company against company so it is easy to make comparisons between the success of social media presence for the B2B and B2C markets.

Is B2B social media falling behind?

According to an article recently published on adweek.com, the fact that Facebook’s most influential brands of 2016 so far are all in the B2C space suggests that B2B brands are falling short, despite 88% of the B2B market using Facebook—just 8% less than the B2C market. However, with B2B often targeting far more niche markets, for example our specialisms at The McOnie Agency, safety, occupational health, security, facilities and emergency services, is it possible for a B2B company to compete?

Tippex –original PR ideas

Tippex is a simple product that reaches out to the individual school student just as much as it reaches the largest offices so when it came to developing a successful social media campaign, the company decided to blur the lines between B2B and B2C. Launched on YouTube, the Tippex, ‘Hunter Shoots a Bear’ viral video shows a hunter faced with a bear he is expected to shoot. The hunter then has a change of heart, reaches outside of the video to a Tippex advert where he grabs the TippEx Pocket Mouse and erases the word ‘shoots’ from the video. Viewers can then replace the word with another word of their choice and the resulting scenario then plays out before them.

The results: one Tweet per second in the first 10 hours, and one million views after 36 hours. Brand positioning increased by 100% and sales were up by 30% compared to the same time the previous year.

Jobsite – hijacking existing marketing campaigns

Faced with negative feedback from young job seekers about the state of job website advertising on TV, Jobsite turned to social media where it developed a parody video called ‘The Advantage’ based on BBC’s The Apprentice to promote their ‘Real Jobs for Real People’ message and their competition to win a job interview package. However, a further part of the brand’s success came from it taking over existing popular brands, including interacting on Twitter about David Moyes’ poor performance as Manchester United’s manger. Jobsite tweeted a timely picture of David Moyes following Manchester United’s 3-1 defeat to Chelsea with the caption: “Another tough week at work, David? Win a total career makeover “. The results: more than 740,000 views of ‘The Advantage’ video and 53,255 visits to the dedicated ‘The Advantage’ microsite. 22% increase in Facebook fans over the first two weeks and a four-fold increase in engagement levels. 11,210 competition entries and 35,079 Facebook interactions.

Is B2B social media really falling behind or is it just different?

As Tippex and Jobsite have proven, B2B social media is clearly achieving in the ways it needs to so it seems unfair to compare it unfavourably to B2C, but what do our resident Agency social media experts think? …

Ask the experts

Luffa Khnom-Ramsden, Account Director at The McOnie Agency said: “It’s all about reaching your audience at the optimal moments when they are most likely to engage with your message. If B2B communications are failing through Social media, we have to ask the question, is this the right vehicle to be using to reach them with a work related message? For example, when the B2B reader is out with friends and they tweet or Facebook a photo, it is unlikely that they will want to receive an update about the latest risk management whitepaper. The key is to find the right place and at the right time to create effective communications.”

Charlotte Hutchins, Junior Account Executive at The McOnie Agency said: “B2C has a classic application when it comes to social media; instantaneous, reactive, casual, attributes that consumer audiences demand. When it comes to social media marketing for B2B, the focus is generally more professional, factual, not looking to create a reaction or gain a response but to implant accurate information.”

Charlotte continued: “There are three social networks predominately used for B2B marketers, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn – mediums that leverage content distribution as well as engagement. B2B tends to cater to industry workers and professionals therefore Snapchat-ing relentlessly or Boomerang-ing on Instagram just would not make sense. The message would be lost. For social media it’s about knowing your audience and what they respond to. B2B brands are not falling behind, they just do not have the same goals and metrics.”

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