Why haven’t B2B brands adopted social listening to the same extent as B2C brands? It mainly comes to three reasons.
Low volume: While consumers love to share opinions about food, beauty, and leisure products … the engagement and interest always quietens down when it comes to B2B industries such as professional services, IT and software. Although there has been a significant shift in professionals using social networks to discuss buying decisions and research products, it is by no means close to the amount of chatter B2C brands generate.
Audience insights don’t matter as much: A B2C marketer sees everyone as a potential customer. Therefore they care how consumers “feel” about the brand, and are always looking for new ways to segment a broad audience into bite-size groups. With B2B marketers it’s traditionally more about customer testimonials and buyer personas although again, there is definitely a shift for decision makers using social media to discuss suppliers etc.
Vendors focus mainly on helping consumer brands: The enterprise social listening suppliers such as Brandwatch, Sysomos and Crimson Hexagon, are designed for listening to and analysing MILLIONS of social conversations. Of course, this means that they spend most of their sales efforts on top consumer brands and agencies. With B2B conversations likely to be far fewer, there’s not much on the market which is worth investing in.
Ahh so in that case, B2B companies don’t need to bother with social listening then? Sorry but yes! Yes you do….. You need to social listen for the following reasons:
1) To stay on top of brand and executive team member mentions
Your company may not be the focus of thousands of social media posts every day but surely you’re curious when customers do mention your business/service or executives. This can provide great feedback for any blog posts that have gone out and allow you to tell senior management what the industry thinks of your brand.
2) To respond to customers and potential customers
Your website harps on about how customer focused your company is but then you fail to respond to questions and comments on social media — that doesn’t look good. Keeping a close eye on your competitor’s mentions can also result in some business! For example, are these not fantastic and proactive opportunities to swoop in?
3) To keep up to date with what is interesting your buyers
Remember, people don’t want to always talk about your industry. Social media listening is a great way to discover which publications, topics and hashtags prospective customers like. Use these social insights to help shape your overall content and marketing strategy. This tweet proved extremely effective after discovering a prospect loved Rugby:
4) To find out who influences your target audience
It’s no secret that the rise of ad blockers is meaning that marketers are having to come up with new content rich ways to reach customers. Social listening helps you identify the thought-leaders, executives and bloggers that your buyers mention the most. That’s right, influencer marketing has hit B2B!
I’m SOLD! How do I get started?
If you’ve now seen the benefit on creating a social listening strategy, here are some simple ways to get started.
- Invest in the right social listening tools whether they’re free (Google alerts,Talkwalkeralerts) or on your social content management platform (Sprout Social, Hootsuite), choose the social listening technology that makes the most sense for the volume of conversation.
- Know who you want to listen to: Start by listening for mentions of your company, executives and products. Also consider your target accounts, key competitors and the hashtags most relevant to your business.
- Be ready to respond and engage: If you don’t have alerts, ensure that you are checking your platforms regularly for Customer support questions, sales opportunity or an emerging social media crisis! Social media is real-time so you can’t afford to figure things out as you go along.
Does your company engage in social listening? What insights are you interested in discovering from social listening? Share your comments below!