Quick: What’s the first thing you do when you want to eat out somewhere new, but you’re not sure exactly where to go?
If you use Yelp to find local restaurants with the highest ratings, you’re in good company – “more than 66 million users visit this local search/consumer review site”every month.
You’re probably saying to yourself, sure, that’s a lot of traffic, but Yelp is just for B2C companies and my company has a B2B focus. Isn’t Yelp pretty much irrelevant to my marketing plan?
Not any more.
True, not so very long ago Yelp was largely confined to the B2C domain as a source of peer reviews on local businesses — from restaurants to auto mechanics, retailers to dentists — but today, Yelp’s success is affecting B2B marketing, both directly and indirectly.
B2B Marketing Converging with B2C Marketing
Yelp’s ubiquity, along with the success of social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, and Q&A sites like Quora and Focus, are causing a sea change in B2B marketing. This transformation is, in effect, placing more marketing power into customers’ hands, in the form of online reviews, opinions and, of course, complaints that are easily shared in public forums — even if your customers are other businesses.
In the past, the role of a marketer entailed presenting a company’s product in a positive light. Customer complaints and interactions were handled in the private sphere &emdash; a manager’s office or a far-away call center — and while word of mouth has certainly always been an effective driver, the recommendations of other consumers weren’t exactly out there for the rest of the world to see.
With Yelp and similar platforms, all that has changed. In a nutshell, this means that your customers may have more influence than your marketing department &emdash; you’d better make darn sure they’re happy!
Savvy B2B businesses are proactively jumping on the opportunity to engage their customers on these social media channels – note the key phrase ‘engage’. More marketing isn’t the best way to approach the issue, according to Paul Gillan, author of -Social Marketing to the Business Customer.
Rather, the solution lies in a blend of customer service, product development and marketing, that leverages user feedback and is delivered through social media channels.
In other words, potential customers are seeking out information from their peers. Before they buy, they want to see data ‘that reflects others’ experiences with your products or services.
Sites like Yelp provide this data &emdash; and provide your B2B company with the perfect forum to connect with potential and existing customers.
How are you using social media sites like Yelp to build your business?Categories: Internet Marketing