Six reasons to marry B2B comms with B2C social platforms

As marketers, we have a habit of pigeon-holing things. ATL, TTL, BTL, B2B, B2C; we break our audiences down into sub-categories with seemingly endless possibilities. Ultimately it makes our lives easier, and our bosses and clients happier.

As such, we become fixated with making something work within the realms of our experience, which may be in B2B, or healthcare, or whatever, electing to ignore the experiences from elsewhere in fear that they won’t work, or cannot be appropriate for that scenario.

Whilst I’m not suggesting that every marketing solution is appropriate for every organisation, I urge readers with B2B backgrounds to consider opting (in part) for B2C social campaigns. My reasons are these:

Regardless of your targeting portfolio, your audience is always human

It’s very easy to forget that if you’re selling telecommunications to organisations, for example, your target audience is not the organisation, but actually a human being. Just like you, whilst they nip out to grab their lunch or make coffee, they have a quick flick through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Snapchat (maybe even all of them?!) to see what’s going on in the world around them. Whilst doing so, they are also fed content and adverts about a whole variety of things based on the factors that inform their targeting preferences. Naturally they have at least a baseline interest in what your organisation has to say, so why not join the party and provide them with some decent content? Of course, your activity on ‘consumer’ platforms must be a considered one; your B2B methods may fall on deaf ears, but serving them with brand-led content may in the very least help build some awareness.

Millennials are becoming decision-makers

As the world grows up, the baby-boomers are on their way to collecting their free bus passes and pensions whilst the millennials head positions of authority and decision-making. Countless research papers and findings prove that adoption of all social platforms is significantly higher amongst millennials and beyond than the generations before it – so why not be active on those that are ubiquitous with the new crop of decision-makers? I’m not saying you should ditch your LinkedIn lead gen formats entirely, but consider your alternatives.

It can supplement your main B2B activity

Exploring B2C platforms gives you a breadth of perspective that is hard to achieve with without them.  However, bear in mind that your goals on these platforms may be different: they are platforms for increasing share of voice, brand awareness, recall and retention, not necessarily just mid-low end marketing funnel activity. Don’t pump all your resources into this shiny beacon of hope, give it a try and see whether it’s worth continuing.

Testing and learning rarely works against your favour

If you’ve ever been agency-side, you’ll know that clients love testing, and this isn’t something that should be left at the door when client-side. When presented in the right way, testing always demonstrates a commitment to optimisation, something – in my experience – you will never be penalised for. The key here is to make sure that regardless of the results, positive or negative, any learnings are presented as useful. It’s helpful to have hypotheses you’re looking to test or debunk, but make sure you don’t throw too many resources at it before considering the implications – especially if you’re spending client money.

It adds some variety to your working day (and your CV)

If you’re ever in a situation where you’re even the slightest bit uninspired by your day to day work, approaching your campaigns with a slightly different angle may breath life back into your day, and indeed your team. Even the most glittering career in B2B marketing will be complimented by frontline experience of running B2C campaigns. You won’t know how much you might enjoy it unless you take a leap.

Others are already doing it

If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. The worlds most popular email marketing company MailChimp – although admittedly their brand identify is one of playfulnesss – make Instagram stories featuring stylish ‘scene-kids’ on beaches. Cisco & IBM are on Snapchat. If you needed any more convincing that you should at least give it a try, know that Cisco, the self-proclaimed ‘worldwide leader in IT’, are on Snapchat.

Whilst I let that sink in, I must stress that I am not advocating B2B marketeers stop their processes dead in their tracks. I simply think that, as the lines between PR, marketing, communications, and advertising blur evermore, we should begin to test that approach on social platforms too.

Give it a try, I’d love to know how it worked out for you.

James Austin, Account Manager, Creative Strategy