Why your B2B marketing strategy should include social listening

published on September, 2020

Consumers might not be mentioning your company on social media, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be listening. Understanding your clients’ customers and what they’re saying about its brands and industries can play a critical role in a B2B company’s success.

B2B vs. B2C social listening

Whether you’re B2B or B2C, the first step to launching a social listening program is the same: determine which conversations are relevant. However, what those conversations look like will differ depending on whether the goal is to influence marketing to consumers or another business.

Imagine a funnel — with B2B social listening at the top. Given the nature of B2B marketing, there are more “arms” or categories to consider, depending on the types of businesses your company works with. The focus is generally more industry-level or topic-based, and it typically takes a bit longer to build that big-picture insight.

As you move down the funnel into B2C social listening, you still want to consider industry and topic, but you continue delving into more specific areas and conversations. This creates opportunities for B2B companies to share broader insights into the general population that their B2C clients may not have considered.

Graphic showing how consumers feed B2C insights and how consumers and B2C feeds B2B insights.

Staying in the know

Social listening helps a company better understand their customers, their competitors, their position in the market, and what’s gaining traction online — as it happens. It provides a constant, ongoing stream of information that helps you keep a pulse on what’s up-and-coming.

This is huge for both B2B and B2C companies because it allows you to be proactive in marketing efforts, rather than reactive. You can get ahead of trends before they’re established rather than racing to research, figuring out what’s going on, and playing catch-up (and potentially missing out on opportunities). Constantly monitoring these streams and keeping in tune with real-time conversations can help influence advancements like new product development, innovation, and messaging that confidently address consumers’ needs.

Developing partnerships in thought leadership

With B2B social listening, you’re not trying to understand your direct customers. You’re trying to understand your clients' customers. And guess what — so are they! While they are accustomed to gathering insights on their direct customers, you can supplement their findings with information they might not otherwise have. B2B social listening typically utilizes a different sample and database than what many B2C companies are used to. This presents an opportunity to come in with a broader view of what the general consumer is doing. Your thought leadership may provide ideas from a perspective that a prospect or client may not have heard or thought about yet. This sends the message that you are investing in their customers too, and that you’re paying attention.

“Here’s what we’re seeing from your customers, and here’s something you might not know about them and consumers in general.”

This type of insight can often be turned around and used in your clients’ marketing materials, ultimately increasing both of your sales. While B2B companies may have to work a little harder to turn the insights gained from social listening into their own direct marketing collateral, there are tremendous opportunities that lie in using that information to influence your clients' programs and build relationships.

Knowledge is power — and key to conversations

Keeping an eye on consumers, even if they aren’t your direct customers, helps you advance your own services and offerings and find opportunities to expand business. By arming your sales team with insights from social listening, you are providing them with a reason to start a conversation with a client or prospect. They will enter those conversations even more knowledgeable about the needs of your clients’ consumers and the market, which will build their credibility, confidence, and ability to sell. Social listening allows your sales team to:

  • Bring a new perspective to the table for prospects or clients to think about
  • Incorporate insights into sales decks and informative resources which can, in turn, be handed over to clients
  • Offer supplemental information that will help drive sales campaigns, conference presentations, or programs your client plans to launch

Reaching next-level insightsAir horns and speech bubbles to represent social media listening

Ready to begin pulling ahead of the competition and utilizing new observations to strengthen your products, relationships, and marketing efforts? Start the conversation with one of our social listening experts — their trained ears and creative strategies are proven to silence the noise and listen where it counts.