I've categorized and compared 7 social media channels that are currently being used by both B2B and B2C brands. I've suggested which type of brand works best in each channel.

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Blogs:

Generally, blogs work better for B2B brands because they require a certain level of prior knowledge and interest. The effort required to follow blogs generally means that the audience already has an interest in the industry. That is why there are so many industry-based blogs.

B2C brands can still take advantage of 3rd party blogs; but generally don't get the ROI required to justify maintaining their own blog

Micro-Blog:

For a similar reason, B2C brand's likely won't find the value in maintaining a micro-blog. However there are exceptions, and this particular channel is evolving.

B2C brands are starting to exploit micro-blogging for customer service. Additionally, some B2C brands are figuring out ways to integrate the real-time functionality of micro-blogging platforms into their marketing efforts.

I maintain, that at the present time, this channel is still better suited to B2B brands; but I can recognize that it has value for B2C brands.

Social Networks:

There are many types of social networks; many niche social networks are specifically designed for B2B brands, and, therefore, are better suited for them. (e.g. LinkedIn)

Excluding those social networks that were designed for a niche market; I suggest that social networks are better suited for B2C brands. The reason is that brands can take advantage of being introduced to their potential customers through their friends.

People have the ability to 'discover' brands their friends like. Additionally, many social networks offer in-network multimedia communication options. Example: Facebook allows you to create a dialog with your audience through images, video, text, and interactive applications; while Twitter allows you to create a dialog using text & links only.

B2B brands definitely should take advantage of social networks; but many social networks are better suited for B2C brands.

Video Sharing:

This channel was close to being equally suited for both types of brand; but due to the nature of many recent viral video's and video channels, I suggest this channel is better suited for B2C brands.

Again, it would be a mistake for B2B brands to ignore the potential of this channel; but this channel is often used as functional support to a B2B campaign; rather than the crux of the campaign. (A great exception would be the BooneOakley linked Youtube video set)

Social Bookmarks:

Easy to maintain, and easy to integrate into campaigns. Although these bookmarks might be used more by B2B customers; the SEO opportunities, and findability support makes them just as useful for B2C brands.

In my opinion a good social bookmarking strategy is rare, but could be powerful. If you examine the engagement options available through sites like delicious, stumble upon, and digg; you'll quickly realize that many B2C campaigns do a very poor job integrating this channel with their campaigns. The potential is there, but unrealized.


Image Sharing:

Again, it might seem that this channel is made for the B2B market; but I've seen many great B2C campaigns that involve image sharing sites. Although not as engaging as video sharing sites, image sharing is quick and easy to use.

The integration of image sharing in B2C campaigns helps me conclude that this channel is just as good for the B2C market as the B2B market.


Podcasts:

In the same way blogs are better for B2B brands; I suggest podcast are better for them as well.

Again, there have been B2C branded podcasts that discuss relevant issues to their target audience; but they rarely produce the ROI required to produce them. Many B2C brands that attempted to produce their own podcasts have discontinued their efforts in favor of sponsoring a 3rd party podcast.

 

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