Social media burst into the rigid world of marketing like a meteor into the world of the brontosauruses. In B2B, it’s been a little slower, but new report from Circle Research and B2B Marketing Magazine reveals that the allure of social media in B2B is growing rapidly.Over four in five marketing teams (83 per cent) now post on social media – an activity that consumes one fifth of their time (20 per cent) – and three quarters (77 per cent) expect to spend more time doing this over the next 12 months. In addition, just like an investor keenly eyeing their growing wealth portfolio, as the ‘value’ of social media in B2B rises, so too does the attention paid to tracking its performance. Over one third (35 per cent) of organisations now subscribe to a paid social media monitoring platform.
However, this bounty is not being distributed equally. Instead, the power of social media is merging around two behemoths: Twitter and LinkedIn. These networks are used by over nine in 10 organisations, regularly updated by more than seven in 10, and are expected to have the strongest growth in usage of any social media channels over the next 12 months. Let’s be honest – you are not about to sell a nuclear reactor on Twitter, but it does offer the opportunity to reach potential clients and influencers.
At the other end of the spectrum, still struggling to scrape together a B2B living, is Google+. Used and updated by significantly fewer organisations, Google+ is considered to be less effective at achieving marketing goals. In fact, despite its obvious SEO benefits, fewer than one per cent of organisations think it is the most effective social media platform.
As Twitter and LinkedIn continue their charge for dominance, it’s easy to assume they will continue to overshadow competitor networks. But wait – who’s that poking their head over the parapet? There’s another contender on the block: the ambitious maverick, YouTube. Despite currently having lower usage than Twitter or LinkedIn, this channel is nevertheless striving for high growth (a net 76 per cent growth in usage anticipated over the next 12 months). In a world where the biggest challenge facing marketers on social media is cutting through the noise (38 per cent), YouTube is offering the promise of differentiation through rich media. While the majority of organisations are using social media as a side-act to funnel clients into bigger pieces of content on their websites (85 per cent), this isn’t always working too well – fewer than one in three (31 per cent) describe this as very effective. Instead, social media needs to become the star performer in its own right. The most compelling social media posts are infographics (67 per cent believe they are very effective) and videos (66 per cent). It is on this differentiated footing that YouTube is preparing its ascent up the B2B social media ladder.
So the next time you’re embarking on a content plan, take time to consider how you can repurpose material in new and interesting formats on social media, whether that be Twitter, LinkedIn or YouTube. Pull out those killer stats in an infographic, or have a chat with your CEO on film. Let social media become the star.
So now the stats have proved that social media is worth the effort in any B2B marketing plan, here are a few tips for getting started :