03 May B2B versus B2C: Building a Customer-Driven Executive Social Strategy
It’s true: regardless of your industry, you and your company can benefit from an executive social media presence, potentially outperforming a branded presence by as much as 320%! Where your industry starts to matter, however, is in your approach. B2B companies and B2C companies have vastly different business models, and the social strategy and tactics employed for each must be customized for those differences. Regardless of which category you fall into, if you’re looking to launch an executive social media presence for yourself or for your company’s leaders, we’ve put together a two-part series covering things you should consider before you get started. In this installment, we’ll be discussing the platform, audience and measurement variations for a B2B versus B2C executive.
While every social media platform provides its own unique value, you don’t need to, nor should you, be on all of them to drive success. When it comes to brand pages, social media platforms vary quite substantially when it comes to B2B versus B2C benefits. Some platforms are better-suited for consumer-driven B2C organizations, such as highly visual platforms like Instagram or Pinterest, or platforms with strong community engagement such as Facebook. Other platforms, like LinkedIn or Twitter, are better-suited to B2B organizations because of their business-first and educational qualities.
However, as an executive taking the first step towards launching a social program, LinkedIn may be the best place to start regardless of if that executive leads a B2B or B2C business. The difference will be in the approach and what you can expect to get out of the platform. For a B2B leader, LinkedIn is an excellent medium to establish expertise and create a steady cadence of thought leadership content, especially because of how the platform is innately used for professional development and advancement purposes. It’s also worth noting that 80% of B2B marketing leads from social media come through LinkedIn! For a B2C professional, on the other hand, LinkedIn can be more values-oriented, focusing on company culture, team accomplishments, leadership, and social good to attract top talent and establish a sense of trust among potential customers, partners or investors. In fact, 73% of executives believe social media engagement makes CEOs more effective leaders by building trust and confidence in their brand.
When launching any social presence, it’s important to consider your target audience, and your plan of attack for reaching that audience. Let’s take LinkedIn, for instance. Because you cannot run ads from a personal page, leaders must rely on organic tactics to expand their connections and followers on the platform. This can be done through a proactive outreach program, but the first step is to determine exactly who you want to put your social content in front of.
B2C leaders may have slightly broader parameters than B2B leaders given that the objective for their social presence is primarily to generate trust and positive sentiment for themselves and their brand. While you may choose to focus on a specific gender, location or socioeconomic status, your products or services are likely to appeal to a fairly wide range of individuals comparatively. B2B leaders, on the other hand, will likely take a more granular approach to generate potential leads, targeting individuals based on specific job titles, industry, skillsets or even company affiliation—zeroing in on users who are more likely to be decision makers when it comes to using your company’s services. For leaders in either category, however, we also recommend creating subcategories in addition to your target customer, outlining characteristics for individuals who may fit the bill for prospective talent, partners or investors as well. One more piece of advice: invest in a LinkedIn premium account! You will have significantly more filtering options available when it comes to finding individuals to connect with. For more information on building a LinkedIn following, check out our recent blog post.
Even the most solid social media strategy is moot without a way to track and measure performance. However, determining success, and the metrics to track that success, depends on your objectives. Because B2C executives are primarily looking to social to capture the attention of a large audience and generate positive sentiment toward their brand, a focus on community building is key. Tracking metrics such as followers and post reach can help to measure general awareness, and post engagements and engagement rate are both good indicators of a captivated and invested audience.
For B2B executives, however, there will likely be a greater focus on lead generation. Because organic social media is generally top- to middle-of-funnel when it comes to driving conversion, it can be valuable to track traffic back to your company website, conversations generated or email addresses captured. To separate traffic generated by an executive social presence from traffic driven by a branded social presence, we recommend implementing UTM codes, which are modifiers added to the end of each URL to help you track the origin of the traffic, or even more granularly, the specific pieces of content the traffic can be tied to. Additionally, you may want to consider a LinkedIn InMail strategy to establish direct contact with potential leads, and track metrics like open rate, click-through rate, and response rate (another benefit of LinkedIn Premium).
The bottom line is, social media is for everyone, and regardless of if you’re a B2B or B2C executive, the right strategy can help you generate a strong ROI. Check back next week as we break down how B2B and B2C leaders should each employ a unique approach to content. If you’re eager to get started on your own executive social presence, or you’d like to launch a program for your company’s leaders, set up a complimentary consultation with one of our experts today.