How Trade Associations Talk to Multiple Audiences on Social Media

When managing the social presence of trade associations that have both business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) audiences, you’re biggest asset will be thorough planning. Each social media platform has its strengths and weaknesses; play off of them well and you’ll garner an audience that is tuned into your message and engaged. Before launching your social media marketing plan, consider these tips for using one brand to address multiple audiences. 


Appropriate Tone = Message Well Received 
Identify the tone of the brand and use those elements to influence how you write your posts. B2B posts should take the approach that you are sharing the latest information with other industry members. You should use industry terminology and share information with the assumption that your audience is at the same level of understanding. If they aren’t, it opens up a great opportunity to spark discussion on your posts. When addressing a B2C audience your content should vary between educating, raising awareness and creating brand loyalty. Consumer audiences most likely will not be as knowledgeable about your cause so you should use your presence online to share informational content and an opportunity for consumers to ask questions and learn more. 


Check out this post from the Grain Foods Foundation’s Facebook and LinkedIn highlighting the difference in tone.

Grain Foods Foundation Facebook post
A conversational tone for consumers.
Grain Foods Foundation LinkedIn post
More technical terms are used to address industry members.


Clear Goals = Social Media Success 
Don’t go in blind! Well thought out plans for what you want your content to achieve is essential in creating posts that matter to viewers. As a trade association looking to create an online presence as a thought leader in your industry, LinkedIn is a great tool. Create an active profile for a member of the association’s leadership team to bring visibility, authority and authenticity to the individual and the association. Identify your goal for your social media content and work backwards for how you plan to achieve that through social media posts. 


For the Grain Foods Foundation, our goal was to establish the foundation’s executive director as a source for all things grains on LinkedIn. We did this by ramping up her engagement with industry posts including likes, shares, and comments. We also expanded her network by connecting with individuals from a variety of companies that contribute to industry success.


Proper Platform Choice = Engaged Audience 
After the tone and goals are set, you need to determine where your audiences are. LinkedIn and Twitter do very well for B2B content whereas Instagram and Facebook have more of a consumer-based user profile. Make sure your content doesn’t fall on deaf ears by making informed platform choices. 


For the Flexible Packaging Association (FPA) we knew there were two audiences we needed to connect with: the industry and consumers.

FPA Perfect Packaging Facebook post
Facebook and Instagram accounts are under the name Perfect Packaging and contain messaging that speaks to consumers.
FPA LinkedIn post
LinkedIn and Twitter focus primarily on industry news and information.


Strategic Media Assets = Thumb Stopping Posts 
Great content needs great images. Keep your tone in mind when creating or deciding on media assets. Is this image addressing an informed audience or is it taking more of an educational angle?  For your B2B audience you can include images that feature industry jargon and niche depictions. Content that will first make users stop and then read your content needs to include images that play on their interests, knowledge and current topics.


In order to reach their two audiences, the Flexible Packaging Association created two websites.

Perfect Packaging website
The Perfect Packaging focuses on connecting with a consumer audience.
Flexpack.org website
Flexpack.org shares more technical information and association news.


At the heart of all content pushed out on social media, you should always ask: is it relevant? Is it directed towards the right audience? Does this relate to my brand/association’s mission? Is everything spelled correctly? If the answer is yes, you’re on your way to a successful social media presence for both B2B and B2C audiences. [ ]

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