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Author's profile photo Schalk Viljoen

B2B vs. B2C Social Media

I had the opportunity to talk at the M2C Digital Reset : 22-23 April in Hamburg. Great presentations from Jack Daniels, Dell, Billboard, Domino’s Pizza, The Economist etc. 

I was the only B2B social media marketer at the conference – or at least it felt like that. I have to admit that I was a tad jealous of the amount of fun stuff the B2C companies can get up to!  Their brand / product tend to be easily identifiable and the connection with their audience comes more naturally on Social Media
than what a B2B company like SAP experiences.


SAP sells and market solutions to many different buyer centers (Sales, Marketing, Finance) across many regions and many industries. Creating social media communities that address a broad range of these criteria is not that easy. In a perfect world you would rather have a smaller, far more focused, set of communities, but this has a big impact on resources. You need people to manage & curate communities.

After a couple of days at the conference I started to experience a shift in perception … we are so focused on the difficult parts of Social for B2B that we tend to forget a major advantage of Social Media. And that is that people engage as an individual 1st, THEN only as their business personas. Even on LinkedIn (and of course of Facebook and Twitter).

This means that content that we produce for B2B needs to be positioned/presented on a far more personal level to attract attention and engagement. This would achieve that personal rapport. Of course the content itself needs to address a business need to be of value. Goes without saying (although I just did 🙂

But leading with the business value and ignoring the personal on Social media channels will have a detrimental effect on getting your message across and driving your goals, whether these are awareness / demand generation / customer care / customer retention / nurturing.

I look after the SAP Cloud Channels (excluding SuccessFactors and Ariba) and have started to pitch our content on all the various channels on a far more personal level.

We may not always get it exactly right .. but from the increase in engagement I feel that we are on a good way.

       We use SAP Social Media Analytics by NetBase to help analyze what is being said by whom and then tweak our messages.

   What are your experiences in this area? Do you think B2C social has it easier than B2B? Which tools do you use?


  Here is a list of some of the SAP Cloud Social Media Channels, including SuccessFactors:


(Image credit: <a href=’‘>mariusz_prusaczyk / 123RF Stock Photo</a>)

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      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member

      Great article! I would agree that interacting with people on a personal level enhances social engagement. When I scroll through my twitter feed and see tweets that pertain to a business need instead of how that business need relates to me, I tend not to read any further.

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member

      Great article. I think that B2C have it easier when it comes to generating engagement on a large scale.  First, it would seem that B2C brands run their social media in a more fluid and relaxed manner which provides a natural feel to the way they engage their audience (or more personal as you have suggested). Second, the content provided by B2C almost always provides added value and relevance to a larger audience than B2B can ever hope to achieve.

      Author's profile photo Axel Luther
      Axel Luther

      Really helpfull - thanks for sharing all these links as well. My favorite place recently is slideshare - amazing how much attention we can create their.