There are exceptions but generally we have found companies flounder when it comes to making a move into social media with a business audience. You can of course apply similar principals to business to business social marketing however target audiences are always more elusive, time poor and discerning….ultimately what social media enables is a new form of word of mouth or referral system for businesses and it needs to be considered as part of the over arching strategy and given as much thought as any other marketing activity.
Read on below for some interesting stats on social media usage by businesses in the US…seems businesses have not yet found a love for Twitter…Linked in is popular, an obvious and safe choice …
According to a new study by BtoB, 93% of all b2b marketers are engaged to some extent in social media marketing, with the most-used channel, LinkedIn, employed by 72% of survey respondents. Facebook (71%) and Twitter (67%) are nearly as popular, and together these three form the core of most b2b marketers’ social media programs.
While most marketers engaged in social media are using a combination of channels, there are clear preferences. When marketers were asked to name the single most important method used for b2b outreach, LinkedIn again was the clear leader, chosen by 26% of respondents.
Facebook was chosen as the single most important channel by 20% of respondents, with blogging (19%), customer communities (14%) and YouTube (7%) also cited. Despite being widely used overall, Twitter was selected by only 13% of marketers as their single favorite.
Dan Rickershauser, marketing researcher with Landslide Technologies, notes that “… there is better attention paid on Facebook as opposed to Twitter… it’s a little more clean and controllable… companies that are using Facebook marketing… are still relatively ahead of the pack.”
Branding is considered the primary strength of Facebook, blogging and YouTube, while customer feedback and researching competitive intelligence are seen as the major strengths of customer communities. The main virtue of professional networking site LinkedIn is its lead-generation power. Customer communities, by contrast, are seen as prime listening posts for marketers and natural ways to solve customer issues.
According to the report, the Social Media Marketing Landscape is defined as:
· LinkedIn: lead generation, web traffic
· Twitter: Short and concise promo; social buzz: see who’s talking about you
· Blog: Search engine optimization; business and/or idealogy related written content
· FaceBook: Branding and event promotions
Companies of various sizes were represented in BtoB’s survey, although small businesses predominated; 56% of respondents represented companies with an annual revenue of $24 million or less; 23% came from companies with annual revenue of $25 million to $499 million; and 21% represented companies with annual revenue of $500 million or more.
Technology companies comprised 22% of the respondents, followed by:
· Manufacturing (15%)
· Consulting (11%)
· Financial services (6%)
· Internet/online services (5%)
· Advertising (5%)
· Publishing/media (5%)
· Wholesale trade/distribution (4%)
Lack of resources, cited by 70% of respondents, is the single most pressing obstacle to implementing a social media marketing program, says the report. Other hurdles include: 57% cited poorly defined success metrics and key performance indicators, and 44% said “lack of knowledge about social media” is holding them and their companies back. Management resistance, cited by 22%, may stem from the preceding three obstacles.
For additional information, please visit B2B Online here.