Discuss about the Use of Social Media in B2B Branding.
Internet applications have been widely used by business to business marketers for quite some time now. However, research and innovation have caused the web to change due to increased use of social media (Neti, 2011, p. 4). The web is defined as a group of interactive and an open source online applications enlarging the experiences, market power and knowledge of users as participants in social and business processes (Michael, 2010, p. 53). There are key terms that are associated with online marketing and branding. The keywords are Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and blogging among others. Innovation has caused technology to evolve at a faster rate leading to increased competition among businesses (Vukasovi?, 2013, p. 99). This has done the businesses to focus on social media to help them in marketing their products and services and to establish a wide customer base. One of the major social media platforms that have been used is Facebook. Most of the young people use Facebook to communicate with their friends and families. Some firms that produce goods and services that target the young people have taken advantage of this platform to avail their products and services in the market. Such firms have been able to connect with their target customers. This task will focus on how business to business marketers have engaged the use of social media to conduct business by analysing two business articles (Brennan, 2012, p.3).
Arguments of the Authors
The first article whose title is ‘The Use of Social Media in B2B Marketing and Branding’, the author has focused on how technology has enabled the companies to use social media to market their products. There are various arguments that the author has addressed in this article. The first argument focuses on what part the social media has to play so as to develop an information-based approach to business to business branding. Various companies put different amount of information on their social media. Some companies rely on the traditional methods of sales while others have embraced the use of social media in connecting with their customers (Borges, 2009, p. 9). The firms that have engaged social media can have wide market share since they can reach to a large number of people. The other argument presented is how social media can assist in managing seller-buyer relationships. The author identifies that companies that used social media to connect with the customers encouraged staff to communicate with their customers without undue corporate interference. The author records that ‘the larger US companies have been able to build substantial virtual communities on Facebook.' Besides the author discusses how social media can be used to enhance trustworthy relationships between sellers and buyers. He identifies that many of the people involved in the social media conversations are familiar with each other and hence a company can progressively establish their relationship which leads to trusting relationship with their customers. The last argument presented in the article is that the social media can be a useful component in the market penetration brand strategy in business-to- business markets of high-technology. This is achieved by building a leadership that is knowledgeable by application of social media.
The second article is entitled “branding in the age of social media.” It explains that companies have lost billions of dollars when developing content on social media with the hope of attracting audiences towards their brands, but consumers have not responded positively. The author argues that culture has transformed how social media works. For brands to succeed, they have to find their way through culture as branding is a technique used to achieve cultural relevance. Branded content is not a new thing since in the past, companies made their brands famous by adopting approaches from popular entertainment for instance use of songs, short-form storytelling, and cinematic tricks to capture the attention of the audience. The rise of new technology has made the audience to easily access various entertainments such that it’s now harder or the brands to buy fame due to competition with this other forms of entertainment.
The Difference in the Arguments of the Authors
In the two articles, the authors have different arguments concerning the use of social media in the business to business marketing. The author of the first article argues that branding by the use of the social media has attracted audiences in various online platforms that companies use to market their product. The author of the second articles identifies that social media has led to rising of crowd culture which refers digital crowds becoming more powerful cultural innovators. In the early days, mass media and companies acted as the link to bring new ideas to the market since cultural innovation was obtained from different groups of the society. Social media has made everything change. Communities that were separated due to geographical reason can now reconnect through the social media, and this interaction can help companies get market ideas on areas that the customers are not satisfied (Mangold, 2009, p.361).
In the first article, the author argues that research and innovation have led to development of technology which has resulted in increased use of social media for business- to-business branding. This is because the buyers and the sellers can connect to various platforms such as Facebook and YouTube. The author of the second articles argues that branded content is not something that is new because even in the past companies borrowed their brand content from songs, stories, and cinematic tricks to attract customers. There was limited cultural competition since there were only a few oligopolies. The author quotes that “in the United States, three networks produced television programming for 30 weeks or so every year and then went into reruns.”
The author of the first article argues that trust relationship can be enhanced by keeping in touch will the customers and updating them with whatever information they may require so as to develop brand loyalty. The author of the second article argues that in the past, brands were used to sponsor television programs which had good content. Brands would then be used as an intermediary to entertainment which helped to obtain customer loyalty.
The author of the first article argues that the use of social media is an important component of market penetration brand strategy in high-technology business to business markets. In the second article, the author argues that combining cultural branding with celebrity sponsorships can create content that can be helpful in attracting audiences who can turn out to be customers.
There are various recommendations given by the two authors. The author of the first article recommends that the used of social media for business-to –business branding is critical to both medium sized and big firms. This is because in the social media platforms the firms can connect with its customers and look for a bigger market share. This makes a firm to remain competitive in a dynamic business environment. Establishing ways of developing solid buyer-seller relationships is another recommendation. This can be done by the staff keeping in touch with the customers online and responding to their complaints immediately so as to gain their trust (Kaplan, 2010, p.62).
The author of the second article recommends that cultural branding can help to break the crowd culture. This can be done by various methods. One of the ways of cultural branding is locating the cultural opportunity. This can be done by businesses searching for brands which are innovative. This is because of customers’ tastes and preferences open doors for other alternatives products. Firms can take this advantage to come up with new innovative brands. Another recommendation is for firms to innovate using flash points which are cultural continually. This can be done by a firm participating in current issues that dominate the media. This helps a brand to sustain its cultural relevance. The other recommendation is competing for crowd cultures. Targeting crowd cultures is an effective way for companies to brand with the social media. Today, many brands run after trends to remain relevant. Many companies are doing similar things with the same trends. This makes the customers not to pay attention. By letting certain ideologies flow out of crowd cultures, brands can stand out in the crowded media environment (Holt, 2016, p48).
From the above first articles, it is evident that social media is playing a big role in business to business marketing and branding. This has led to business growth since companies can connect with their customers who provide them with important information on areas that need improvement. This interaction enables a firm to build trust with the customers who help to create brand loyalty. Social media has enabled businesses to be global since people from different parts of the world can connect through Facebook, Twitter, and other social platforms. The second articles emphasize that cultural branding is important in helping to counter the crew culture making various brands competitive.
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