Not all social media marketing plans are made the same. Messaging, tone and voice all shift as the demographics change. As a nod to the site’s name, let’s start with the basics. Some companies market themselves to other businesses (B2B) while others focus their efforts on the consumer market (B2C). Find tips for each specialty is a snap and there are countless resources for each. But what happens when you have customers in both realms? How can a company engage all of their target demographics when they seem so different? Where is the best place to post for B2B and B2C customers?
Understanding The Difference In B2B and B2C Social Media Marketing
To understand how to engage with B2B and B2C audiences, we have to look briefly at the best practices for each. What makes each audience so different?
Business to Consumer (B2C)
People are surrounded by advertising every day, and most of it can be considered B2C marketing. From the billboard advertising a local restaurant to a Facebook ad promoting an online sale, all of these messages are directed at the consumer. In general terms, these messages are meant to entice or inform and ultimately lead to greater brand awareness. In digital terms, B2C campaigns are vital to driving online conversions, from hot leads for a service to an actual purchase.
This is the type of marketing that most people are aware of when they are online. There are countless tools for delivering these messages, from Google Ads to blogs and social media marketing.
There are a few things that these digital messages have in common:
• They are quick: The average consumer is bombarded with messaging. Effective campaigns must find a way to capture their audience as quickly as possible.
• They are engaging and entertaining: Consumers turn to social media platforms to entertain. In B2C marketing, think of social media as a cocktail party; light, breezy conversation meant to amuse and distract. Everyone avoids the “hard sell” at a social event. Social media is no different.
• They are enticing: The best social media campaigns become the life of the party, so to speak. These are the ones that inform while entertaining, or spark dialog with their consumers.
Finding where to post for a B2C business is usually relatively easy. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Snapchat, and Instagram are all platforms geared toward the consumer.Social media marketers, with a keen eye on their demographic, can utilize online contests, informative blogs, and coupon offers to reach their audiences. They also engage with their audience; responding to comments and retweeting their guests.
An excellent example of this type of fun and entertaining B2C marketing comes from a burger joint in Wisconsin, AJ Bombers. They host #oldschoolTweetups, for online friends to meet in person over a burger or a beer. They post delicious looking pictures of their newest burger innovations, and they even partnered with a local competitor to try to woo a Travel Channel show, Food Wars, to town. All while conversing with their customers across their platforms.
Business To Business (B2B)
In contrast, B2B marketing tends to be far more serious than its B2C counterpart. These messages aren’t always for public consumption and have a much more focused audience in mind. Some may argue that this is the “grown-up” side to social media marketing; more Business Journal and less People Magazine. (Although both are great at reaching their target audience.) Linkedin stands out as the leader in B2B social marketing, but YouTube, Twitter, and even Facebook have their place. Because the audience and its respective tone are so different, the tactics used to reach this audience must also be different.
• They are more detailed: The messaging for B2B customers must be more in-depth showcase expertise in the field.
• They account for a longer buying cycle: Unlike its B2C counterparts, B2B efforts tend to have a much longer pipeline to an actual sale. You don’t see too many impulse purchases in the business world and therefore, those who sell to other businesses must create a marketing plan that leads people down a longer path to a conversion.
• They are exercises in relationship building: Online interactions typically must translate into a deeper relationship, which last longer than their B2C counterparts. A consumer may hop from brand to brand with very little loyalty whereas, given the long buying cycle, B2B customers tend to be more loyal. (Relatively speaking.)
The core strategies for implementing these tactics, like the B2C efforts, focus on audience-driven content. With a more business-centric audience, longer form items tend to be more effective. These include things like white papers, online networking groups, and in-depth, informative articles. Businesses still need to engage with their customers online, but it is not always as easy. Online business forums are an excellent way to promote engagement for these brands, where like-minded individuals gather to discuss relevant issues.
A great example of this comes from a company based in Alabama that provides pre-engineered masonry products to home builders and suppliers, Firerock. This is a B2B company that has mastered social engagement in a B2C world. It did this by understanding its demographic and providing content that its customers can use in their efforts to reach the consumer. Confused? In short, Firerock knows that no one wants to see raw building materials online. Instead, it utilizes Facebook and Pinterest to showcase the potential for its products, effectively creating a glossy, online catalog for consumers and its B2B customers alike. It is positioning itself as a leader in the industry while creating content that its core customers, home builders, and developers, can use to stay on trend. They do this while maintaining a Linkedin presence as a direct line to the brand.
For Customers That Do Both, Where Do the Two Meet?
The short answer is they don’t, not really. Each platform has a unique and distinct audience, and the content must reflect that. The first step in successfully navigating a strategy that involves both B2B and B2C is identifying the best platforms for your brand and who the target audience is for each. Some helpful tips:
• Each platform will have a distinct and possibly different audience: It is important to create compelling content for each, but allowing for crossover. A blog post may be broad enough to play well on Linkedin and Facebook, whereas a long-form white paper may only fit on Linkedin.
• Each platform will have an opportunity to showcase your expertise. Don’t deny either side of your business, but use your experience in each to your advantage. In many cases, this will add more legitimacy and credibility to your overall marketing efforts if you can highlight a range of knowledge.
• Each platform will take time. Know that you may not have cross over on social platforms and as such, you should allocate enough time for each. If you don’t have the time to do each platform well, which will offer the best return on your time investment?
A good example of differentiating marketing messages comes from Signature Electric, an Omaha-based Electrician, which offers commercial and residential services. Their Facebook page offers fun trivia, job opportunities, and company news which both humanizes the brand and engages their residential customers. Meanwhile, their Google + page helps to optimize the brand for local SEO.
So how can you tweak your social efforts to garner the most return? Are you targeting the right audience in the right place? Use these tips to create social content that will promote your brand.
As a small business owner, even the most minor issue can be a huge risk for the company. When someone does suffer an injury, a premise liability case may be an option for the victim. Sometimes, a premise liability accident is referred to as a “slip and fall” accident because, often, slipping and falling is what causes the injury to the victim. A slip and fall injury can happen on any property for a multiplicity of reasons and in every type of business: in an office, mall, restaurant, shopping center, grocery store, etc.
While every small business wants the most for their employees and those who visit their establishment, they also have to protect their assets. A personal injury lawyer is a necessary solution to protecting your small business when you have a personal injury lawsuit. We talked to personal injury lawyer, Keith Devries in New York about legal concerns a small business owner should be aware of and how to prevent a lawsuit. He gave us a few insightful preventative solutions to prevent slip and fall claims at any business.
6 Steps to Prevent Slip and Fall Claims
1.Train All Employees
Employee training is vital to reducing a company’s slip and fall loss exposure. All employees who are likely to be around third parties on your premises should be trained about what to do should someone suffer a slip or fall. Include the policy in every new employee orientation and the company handbook. Prepare everyone and know what to do, and the better the situation will turn out. Depending on the size and nature of your business, you may want to have employees on each work shift trained by qualified Red Cross instructors to provide first aid and CPR. Someone should be designated to keep first aid kits stocked and accessible.
2. Provide Assistance
If an accident were to happen, care and support should always be made available to the injured person even if that means calling an ambulance. Individuals who feel treated callously or indifferently are more likely to sue after an accident. The medical care ad emergency services such as an ambulance may be costly, but will show your employees you care and save you money in the long run.
3.Eliminate Potential Hazards
Elimination of slip and fall hazards should be a routinely scheduled. Use a checklist for this. “A little prevention on the front end can save a small business a great deal of time and money should an accident occur on their property,” says Devries.
Indoor areas hazard list:
- Lighting: All areas should be adequately lit, including hallways and stairs.
- Exits: Exits should be well marked, well lit and clear of any obstacles.
- Stairs: Handrails, steps, and landings should be in good condition. Construct stairs to a uniform height and width.
- Carpeting: Carpeting should be tight and smooth.
- Floors: Mark any changes in floor level.
- Doormats: Doormats or rugs should be flat, slip-resistant, cleaned and checked regularly in bad weather.
- Spills: There should be an effective procedure to assure that all spills are immediately cleaned up.
Outdoor area hazard checklist:
- Walkways: Walkways should be kept in good condition.
- Lighting: Lighting should be adequate.
- Parking lot: Repair any potholes, cracks or uneven areas.
- Ice and snow: There should be an effective procedure for assuring ice and snow removal.
- Caution signs or barriers should be used to keep people away from uneven areas or outdoor hazards.
Investigate any accident or workplace injury-related event immediately. The goal of investigations is to identify the cause of the accident or injury rather than assign blame and to correct any hazards or other problems found.
Once a year, supervisors should review all incidents from the prior year to see whether there are any patterns in the accidents and, if so, how to prevent the problem happening again in the future. Each year, evaluate how each case went and where improvement could be.
6.Hire an Attorney
Having a knowledgeable attorney with the ability to put everything into proper perspective is essential to getting the best result out of a slip and fall case. An accident lawyer who is prepared to assist you with any slip and fall or premise liability case and make sure you are taking the correct route.
Defending Slip and Fall Claims
If you are a small business owner and are facing a slip and fall claim, you should contact an attorney. Sometimes, even with prevention, an accident still happens; there is no such thing as complete immunity from a lawsuit.
However, following the six steps discussed above should reduce the potential for a suit, as well as decrease the value of any lawsuit that you do face. For additional information, visit the Web site of the Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
By Victor Imgarten of Clean Sweep Chimney Service
I founded Clean Sweep Chimney Service in 1977 and we are still proud to be family owned with the first and only owner working in the field to ensure the best service the industry has to offer. Over the years, I have seen great value in customer reviews. We often get service calls based on the reputation that we have developed in real life and online. People trust their neighbors when they take the time to write a review on Yelp, Facebook or Google. We would like to share with other business owners what we have learned over the years and how important our customers and their feedback are to us.
Online reviews of small businesses have changed the way your customers are discovering services and making purchasing decisions. If your company is who your customers say it is, then these online reviews play a crucial part in giving them that voice. It’s so important to start managing online reviews well and learn how to not only keep them coming in but how to respond to them.
Online reviews often act as short and timely customer testimonials. Reviews can help with search engine rankings and work to establish trust and brand recognition for your company. You need to be managing online reviews for your business so that you can be seen and trusted.
Here are 4 Beginner Steps for Managing Online Reviews
1.Make all Employees Ambassadors
All your employees should be ambassadors for customer reviews! Ask your employees to tell clients to leave a review of their work. Most satisfied customers won’t take the time to post a review unless you specifically ask them to. This not only lets the client know you care about the quality of your work and is willing to have your customer share their opinion publicly, but it creates a connection to your customer. In turn, you will hopefully get more reviews, honest feedback and returning customers.
2. Make the Process Simple
Make it easy by signing up for an online service that automatically emails your customers to request they submit a review. Or simply let your customers know you are on Yelp or remind them that you have profiles on Google and Facebook, where they can leave a review. This simple technique has proven to quickly increase the number of reviews you can generate. These services can link to your customer database so you know the reviews are from your actual clients and customers.
3. Respond to All Reviews, Even the Negative Ones
Create a policy for responding to negative reviews with everyone in your company and designate one person to act as the spokesperson in these situations. When a negative review appears, respond in a timely fashion. Acknowledge their dissatisfaction publicly and describe how you plan to resolve the cause of it and that you will contact them directly. Follow up by directly reaching out to the concerned customer.
Customers will naturally gravitate to businesses that display a human element and interaction.
4. Thank Your Reviewers
Publicly thank anyone who gives you a review. This shows your customers that you appreciate them and are noticing their feedback. This is actually one of the most important steps to getting a customer to return.
As a service oriented company, we at Clean Sweep St. Louis love getting feedback from customers and have found managing online reviews to be very significant for us. We have implemented these four steps at Clean Sweep with our team. We hope what has worked for us will also help you!
About Clean Sweep Services: Clean Sweep continues to lead the way in the field of chimney safety. We are proud of our past and are no strangers to being first and leading the way for the industry and homeowners. We were first in the state to offer internal video chimney inspections, the first to offer European chimney lining and sweeping methods and the first to offer power sweeping of chimney systems. We continue to look for new and innovative products and services to improve and simplify our customer’s lives and make your home and the earth a safer and more efficient place for all.
The modern business owner faces A LOT of noise being projected at them on a daily basis. Cutting through the jargon thrown about in emails, the offers from salespeople to sign you up for products or services that you may or may not need, and simultaneously managing your employees is a time consuming process. What should you be doing? What are you missing out on? There is so much to do and think about that companies tend to overlook the basics to business—the strategies you can implement with ROI and longevity in mind. That’s where we come in!
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-The BasicsToBusiness team