B2B Social Media Is About Building Your CommunityI’ll let you in on a little secret, whenever I write these blogs; I listen to music. It’s a great way to block out the world around and focus on the words. Not a shocking revelation, but one that lead me to the topic for today’s post. I listen to that music through Spotify, and when choosing music for writing another post, I noticed something. U2 (don’t judge me, I’m Irish and in my thirties) have over half a million followers on Spotify. Which is a hell of a lot for a band that have no profile or updates on Spotify.
To explain, on Spotify you can play music by any artist at any time, you don’t need to follow them to listen to their music. Following them just gives you updates when they create playlists or listen to certain songs. U2 don’t do that and yet, they have half a million followers. Why do they have that many followers? Because they’re a well-known band and it’s possible to follow bands on Spotify.
These days, everything is social. Almost every online service requires you to create an online profile where you can share products bought, or music listened to. We’re even seeing offline social products like loyalty cards developing into online profiles that can be integrated into traditional social media channels. At every turn, consumers are being asked to become part of a community. We’re no longer individuals buying products; we’re all part of a greater social whole.
The Two Sides Of B2B Social Media
So what does that have to do with B2B social media? B2Bs have developed a strange relationship with social media. While every B2C brand, service and product scrambles to create as many social channels and communities as possible; B2Bs haven’t really figured it out. Some businesses are really engaged with social but they use it just like B2Cs. They post ‘happy Friday’ messages on Facebook and use text-speak on Twitter. Essentially, they turn their online presence into Michael Scott.
Others limit their social activity exclusively to LinkedIn, because it’s the only ‘serious’ social platform and the only place they can take themselves seriously. This approach makes practical sense; LinkedIn is a business platform and certainly the natural place for B2B social media engagement. But that doesn’t mean the others should be ignored outright. Many studies suggest that Twitter is in fact the most prolific B2B social platform. But a lot of B2Bs see Miley Cyrus having a Twitter breakdown and think ‘not for me, thanks’.
Think About Your Community First
The point that gets lost in a lot of this is that everything is social these days. B2B social media isn’t isolated to Twitter or Facebook or LinkedIn. You can’t box social activity into it’s own section of your marketing or business development plan. You already have a B2B social media community in your blog readers, your existing customers and your sales leads. They may not all be in your Google+ circles but it’s still a community with a connection with your business.
If you start out by choosing set social platforms, or social activity and then look at the community you want to reach, you’re doing it backwards. Your first thought should be for that community, when you create content, identify sharing strategy or create social media channels; you should be doing it because it helps you reach and grow that community.
B2B social media engagement should always occur where the community is, not where you want it to be. Everything is social in a world where half a million people sign up to receive nothing from U2. A world where users want to connect on any, and every, platform. Your business should consider the community and build social channels and target social activity around that, not the other way around.
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