B2B means the business-to-business model, which refers to companies that make and sell products or services to other companies rather than directly to individual customers. While it may sound like quite a niche business model, the B2B market has seen significant growth in recent times. Four Indian start-ups achieved the coveted Unicorn status between January and April of 2021, and industry experts predict that this number will rise further as the year progresses.
Every industry has B2B enterprises providing raw materials, consultations, and services required by other businesses. The automobile manufacturing industry is an excellent example here because all vehicle makers need to purchase the various parts required to build a car – such as batteries, tyres, etc. from various companies that manufacture said parts. Other popular B2B company examples include WeWork and Xerox. Since such businesses have a different target customer base compared to the usual business-to-consumer (B2C) organisations, the marketing plan needs to have a unique approach. In the current times, using social media listening can be an effective strategy.
How to use social media listening?
50% of marketers worldwide have used social listening during the Covid-19 pandemic to better understand and cater to the changing needs and preferences of customers. Due to the nature of business, B2B establishments tend to have fewer interactions with consumers. This makes it even more important for such businesses to put in efforts and find out what customers think about them and their products.
There are several ways to use social listening as a B2B company. Do the necessary market research to understand who your audience is, latest happenings in the industry, and social media conversations about you and your products. You can also keep an eye on what the competition is doing. Moreover, it helps to stay on top of the latest social media trends so you can use the insights gathered to develop your PR and content marketing strategy for better outreach.
Five kickass ways in which social media listening can help derive value for your B2B business
There are several ways in which social media listening can benefit businesses. Here are five important ones:
Finding your niche customers
Since customers of B2B companies are harder to define, social media listening lets you gather first-hand feedback from people who use your product while also identifying your core customer group. Next, you can come up with a crisp and engaging marketing strategy to reach out to more potential customers.
This can be significantly valuable for your business instead of a random, blanket approach for an undefined audience. A targeted plan is sure to raise your chances of converting customers. After all, the ROI can be sizeable for a B2B business even from one important customer.
Discovering influencers and brand advocates
One cannot deny the fact that brand advocates and influencers today wield a massive amount of power over customers, and they can be instrumental for brands to increase revenue as well as brand awareness. Social listening can aid B2B businesses in identifying key bloggers, social media influencers, thought leaders, and brand advocates to collaborate with and form an intrinsic part of their digital marketing strategy.
Gauging your brand health
Social media listening helps you analyse your brand health, both outside among consumers and internally among your employees. Dig deep into your performance as an employer brand since your real value lies in your workforce. Moreover, employees can be the biggest advocates for a brand since whatever they say comes straight from the horse’s mouth.
Once you know how your customers and employees feel about you, you can take steps to develop and improve products as well as the workplace environment – something that will place you as a credible, caring business and help you stand out in the crowd.
Manage your Online Reputation
Receiving some negative product feedback, service issues, and other complaints is a given for almost all businesses. But how you tackle that is what will set you apart from the rest. Even a single complaint not handled in time can have massive repercussions on the reputation and sales of a business since 84% of VP- level and C-level executives interact on social media platforms before making any purchasing decisions.
B2B social listening helps you get notified timely of such conversations to which you can respond, offer any due apologies, and take further steps. This helps boost your reputation, retain customers, and avert major PR crises.
Monitoring the competition
It pays to track the competition too, and analyse how your business measures up against them. This goes beyond occasionally visiting a competitor’s website. Monitor what people are saying about companies like yours, who are their key customers, latest product development and public relation activities, and so on. Apply the competitive intelligence you have thus gathered to enhance your own services. Using social listening for this can also help you remain updated on the latest industry buzz and generate appropriate hashtags, keywords, and suitable content marketing strategies.
As the B2B digital market grows, social media marketing plays an enormous role in influencing buyer activities and promoting brand health. Utilise social listening for your brand to leverage the many benefits it offers. An important tip – remember to go beyond the social media ‘Big Five’ and gather insight from other platforms too, such as Quora, Reddit, and review sites. There are plenty of tools available today that can help you in your social listening activities. You can also get professional social media intelligence companies such as Germin8 to help design an optimal strategy for your social listening requirements.