I have seen a number of posts about the differences between the relevance and effectiveness of B2C (Business to Consumer) and B2B (Business to Business) social media. As someone who has been employed in marketing for many years and used just about every communications tool since Morse Code, I think these discussions miss the point. Social media is all about P2P – i.e., Person-to-Person communications. If we’re treating our audience like we would with a commercial, print ad, sign or banner, we’re not listening, we’re merely generating additional noise.
Yes, we most certainly have a message we want to communicate. But we also need to watch, listen and respond to others. That’s how we build community — and that to me is what social media is all about. A Budweiser drinker may look the same as someone who will only drink Coors. They may have the same toys, the same number of kids, live in the same neighborhood and drive the same Ford truck. But with Facebook, Twitter and other forms of social media, they’re suddenly distinct voices talking to us.
Recently, I learned from one of our Twitter followers that they were looking for a certain new product from us that we don’t currently manufacture. This was valuable insight – and a name to add to our direct marketing efforts when and if we ever produce it.
From another tweet, I learned that someone thought our ink cartridge recycling program was too costly. Curious, I followed up with the individual only to learn that he had been saving them up for many years which required shipping several large cartons. His green stewardship was not only exemplary, but worth singling out to all our other customers.
Coming soon: Social Media Part II — How to Handle the Added Workload