Do B2B Brands Really Need To Be Social?

Proliferation and fragmentation of media has not only impacted consumer brands in the way they market but also B2B brands who are seeing a behavioural shift in their target audience.

For a long time social media was considered suitable only for consumer brands but eventually, B2B brands realised the value the medium had to offer. While there is a general agreement on the fact that social media is helpful, B2B industry players remain divided over the usage of social media and the extent to which they, as a business, can go social.

Social media is becoming a more effective tools for thought leadership, customer feedback and action for B2B marketers, says Jennifer Berthold (pictured), vice president and general manager, global corporate payments at American Express International adding batch and blast email marketing are a thing of past,

"On the horizon, there is a greater integration of ‘online' and ‘offline' experiences."

"B2B marketers will have to contend with how all the different channels should work together to deliver results, and what the optimal mix should be," she says.

According to Ruth Rowan, APAC marketing director at BT Global services, the line between work and personal life is blurring, thanks to social media.

"So for those tasked with targeting the business decision maker, there is a need to recognise the blurred boundary between work and home."

"Never before has it been more important as it is now, to target a named individual, rather than his job title or even just his ‘company'," Rowan adds.

The ability to immediately access what is on minds of individuals and what they are focused on in the open market has changed.

However, Anne Trads Hansen, marketing director and co-founder, Norbreeze Group, feels rather than investing on social media apps or content that wasn't built on more solid dialogues, companies should focus on refining the skillsets of the B2B outreach team, required for relationship building.

"Only with a real-life conversation can any company generate relevant and effective social media content for a B2B or B2C audience," Hansen adds.

She adds that the B2B marketing challenge in the future would be for companies to find the balance of engagement when merging traditional and digital/social media approaches.

"Just as successful bloggers and digital influencers actually lead active lives outside in order for their social media content to be captivating, companies need to get vivacious in real life as well, so as to generate good B2B social media content later," Hansen concludes.