As I mentioned here, external communication helps companies to connect with stakeholders outside of the organization. Companies transmit messages in order to influence external stakeholder’s opinions about a brand and its products or services. What is important, they use a different communication strategy for B2C (communication with retail customers) compared to B2B customers (communication with other businesses).
Main characteristics of B2C marketing are:
(source: Debra Murphy “Marketing for B2B vs. B2C – Similar but Different”)
- Product driven
- Maximize the value of the transaction
- Large target market
- Single step buying process, shorter sales cycle
- Brand identity created through repetition and imagery
- Merchandising and point of purchase activities
- Emotional buying decision based on status, desire, or price
Debra Murphy adds: “the ultimate goal of B2C marketing is to convert shoppers into buyers as aggressively and consistently as possible. B2C campaigns are concerned with the transaction, are shorter in duration and need to capture the customer’s interest immediately”.
The B2C customer is usually looking for the best price and will research the level of prices on market before shopping. In the same time, nowadays this customer trusts personal advice from his acquaintances much more than any advertisement.
This is why social media are so embraced by business-to-customer companies: they provide them with a whole range of tools to influence the customers’ decision, connect to customers in order to establish real-time dialogue and even give a possibility to involve customers in co-creation of a product (Dell’s Ideastorm). Social media allows these brands to highlight their products and specific characteristics in normal conversation with customers without being regarded as needy or too promotional. Thanks to social media, customers can feel themselves as a part of the brand and this also contributes to business success. This in its turn leads to building a loyal community.
According to Douglas Karr, “in the short-term, this can lead to increased traffic and sales. In the long-term, this can establish a legion of brand ambassadors who function much like a team of guerilla marketers.”
However, any company should approach the social media with certain attention in order to diminish the chances of the social media crisis.
According to the latest research by the Social Media Examiner the most popular platforms for B2C companies worldwide are (source: Shea Bennett “Which social media platforms are most important to B2C and B2B Marketers (and why)?”):
- Facebook: 67%
- Blogging: 11%
- Twitter: 10%
- LinkedIn: 5%
- Youtube: 4%
- Pinterest: 2%
- Google+: 1%
- Forums: 1%
Looking at leads and sales generated by the social media platforms, we see the same platforms in top. No surprise here: corporate Facebook, Twitter and blogs are the best platforms for sharing most types of the content and allowing real-time communication with users. LinkedIn is too niched and Google+ is still too specific.
Thus, content is the key to engage with the customers: it should attract attention and encourage users to share it.
Image Credit: Danny Sullivan, article “Survey: Facebook Best For B2C Sales and Leads; LinkedIn For B2B”
— Ted Rubin (@TedRubin) June 2, 2013
Here are several rules for good content creation proposed by Samantha Bartlett:
- Have a goal for your content
- Research your audience and your topic
- Don’t fill it with too much jargon
- Publish everywhere
- Create multimedia
- Turn problems into content
It is a good idea to combine Content Marketing principles, Social Media and SEO in order to achieve the outstanding results as shows the infographic below:
More information on this topic:
- Social Media Survey Results in 2012
- Infographic “Social Media on Your Brand”
- David Wallace “The Pinterest Effect: From Pin to Purchase”
- Cheryl Conner “New Research: Social Media Trends for Marketers In 2013”
- Dr.Angela Hausman “10 Digital Trends of 2013: Are You Ready?”
- Jeff Bullas “5 Fabulous Facebook Marketing Infographics”
- Pam Moore “5 ways to grow your business with Facebook”
- Infographic “The Digital marketing trio of 2013”
- Jeff Bullas “20 Simple Tips for Writing a Blog Post that Begs to be Read”
- Pam Moore “Content marketing: Are You Sharing Your Best Stuff?”