B2B coexisting with B2C

My employer is terrified to do any B2B marketing via social media (outside of LinkedIn) because he’s worried that our B2C clients will be horrified.

We’re a lead generation company, so he doesn’t want our end users to see that we think of them as “leads”.

This seems wrong to me but I haven’t been able to formulate why exactly. Am I crazy? Is he?

There is more and more resistance to social media marketing these days, now that every huge corporation, politician, and everyone else is on board and tweeting away all sorts of blather. There is plenty of opportunity with social media, but the idea that ‘everyone should be doing it’ is starting to lose traction and there is a bit of lameness associated with it now - i.e. United Airlines isn’t talking about their Twitter feed all the time these days :slight_smile:

So, if you aren’t able to really explain why they should do it, maybe it’s not the right time. I know personally that when I hear from clients that they want to jump into social media with high expectations it makes me nervous. Some sectors are doing well in social media, like gaming and content aggregation. Others are just reinforcing their brands in every possible channel, like Coke and Red Bull. But when I see IBM spending millions trying to increase their visibility in social media, or Obama tweeting, or the Secretary of State of California posting blather to their Facebook page it makes me wonder if we’ve reached the saturation point.

So what is it that YOU are proposing? If it’s a good proposal, you should have no trouble expressing it!

Your boss is right to be cautious. Caution is prudent when your brand is on the line and with social, your perception sure is – but that’s true whether you jump in or not – what’s not certain is the strategy you use to get involved.

As Sagewing pointed out, doing social just to do it is reaching the point of absurdity and hopefully dying down. What you need is a program not for using one or two hyped up social tools but for taking the concept of social brand [a transparent company that encourages reviews, feedback and discussion] and find a way to make it work for the business. People will talk about you whether or not you participate so being involved isn’t really an option, but at the same time, broadcasting out to social channels b2b or b2c isn’t going to help. Find a reason to be in the mix, a value from it, or just sit back and monitor.

Hopefully your company has a good opinion of the end user and the value you provide too them which you can reflect in the social messaging to your business customers. If not, well, that’s exactly what social media can help you with… it’s not about direct sales, it’s about perception leading to you being a trusted vendor so if you’re fearful of what the people who ultimately make you money think about what you do, it’s likely you already have the wrong perception out there.

Remember, when done right, lead generation is about helping consumers find the right business for a need, not simply hawking them off to the highest CPA buyer… that serves no one in the end.