Social Media Marketing for Business to Business Companies
By Donald Lim
 
I am engaged in a B2B business, specifically, we sell hardware and construction materials to medium and large companies. I know that the future of marketing is already on the internet, and I hear so many of my marketing friends talk about it, especially given the rise of Facebook and Twitter. “How can I use these social media to help me in marketing my business? I would like to attend one of your classes but I thought of writing you here first. Any thoughts?”
 
The essence of social media is that it allows brands to capture a wide base of audience that is already on a single platform. On Facebook, I would believe there are more than 30 million Filipinos on it, thus making it one of the most enticing places to market a brand’s product or service offering. However, given that massive throng of people inside, a marketer’s dream is an audience’s nightmare. We have seen how brand pages and ads have tried every trick in the book to reach their customers, with different level of successes and failures.
 
My personal take is not to use social media when your business is engaged in B2B (business to business). I have countless people coming to me asking me how to utilize social media to market their B2B business. Some have created a facebook page and have already garnered five thousand likes and then their page stopped growing. Some have poured in most of their marketing budgets on social media, hoping that a like or a follower would automatically generate a lead or a phone call. Good luck with that.

Some people are always confused with websites, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube, mobile apps and others. There are just too many platforms. Let me explain quickly how I differentiate them given that I am not a techie but more of a marketing person who understands tech. Your corporate website and mobile apps are what you call Owned Digital Assets. These are platforms that you have created from scratch and have full access to data. You can change anything you want with it and can do whatever you want with the data you have acquired there. Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Youtube, are what I call Leased Digital Assets. You can create a Brand Page or an Account on them, but you only have access on the information when someone likes, follows or subscribes to you. Also, in case any of these websites or platforms go down one day (for whatever reason), then everything that you have established there will also be gone.
 
Using a business example, Owned Digital Assets would be those free standing stores that a business owner built from the ground up. Leased Digital Assets would be those stores that are built inside a mall where there is presumably a lot of traffic. The easiest guide to the confused would be: if you were to establish your business or store, would you set up inside a mall (given you are dependent on a lot of traffic), or would you just set up an office inside a business building (since you just service other businesses)? B2C (business to consumer) products like restaurants, fashion, FMCGs would naturally need the traffic generated from a mall so they can push their product. Thus, their best marketing platform would be those that optimize a large audience base already, like social media: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to engage with their customer base. Those who are on B2B like construction supplies and hardware do not require mall traffic, and thus in my opinion, do not need social media platforms to market. I would suggest that you invest in a good website and do email marketing, with an end in mind of having a strong CRM platform for you to profile your customers and do one-to-one sales and marketing efforts.
 
In a nutshell, do not attend my social media sessions because they are more apt for B2C brands. B2B businesses are simpler because you just need a good website and a clear SEO (Search Engine Optimization) strategy, coupled with a strong email marketing program, and then look forward to having your own CRM platform.
 
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Donald Lim is the Chief Digital Marketing Strategist of Mansmith and Fielders, Inc., the only advocacy-based training and consultancy firm focused on marketing, sales, strategy and innovation. For more information, visit
www.mansmith.net, or email info@mansmith.net.