By Consumer Dummies

Market research and social media choices for business-to-business (B2B) markets are somewhat different from business-to-consumer (B2C) markets because the sales cycle is different. Usually, B2B companies have a longer sales cycle, high-ticket purchases, and multiple people who play a role in closing a sale; consequently, B2B marketing requires a different social media presence.

In terms of social media, more B2B marketing efforts focus on branding, top-of-mind visibility, customer support, customer loyalty, and problem-solving compared to more sales-focused messages from B2C companies.

One key step in B2B marketing is to identify people who make the buying decision. Professional social networks such as LinkedIn, Networking for Professionals, or others on sitepoint may help you research people on your B2B customer or prospect lists.

According to research by the Content Marketing Institute, more than 90 percent of all B2B marketers use some form of social media. As shown, B2B firms may emphasize different forms of social media than B2C businesses. In many cases, the choice of social media varies by company size, industry type, experience with social media, and the availability of budgetary and human resources.

B2B
Reproduced with permission of Statista, Inc.
B2C (left columns) and B2B (right columns) businesses often utilize different social media channels.

HubSpot also offers a range of B2B market research tools and webinars.

As always, the key is ensuring that your customers are using the type of social media you’re considering. Use the search feature and group options on major social networking sites to test your list of existing customers. Chances are good that if a large number of your existing customers are using that service, it will be a good source for future customers as well.

In addition to participating in general market research, you might want to try SimilarSites, which not only assists with research on social media alternatives that reach your target market, but also helps you find companies that compete with yours.

Check competing sites for inbound links from other sites, as well as their outbound links, to see how they reach their customers.