A recent study by BtoB magazine found that 93% of all B-to-B marketers are engaged in some form of social media marketing. B-to-B marketers overwhelmingly favor “the big 3” social media channels of LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. LinkedIn is the most popular with 72% of the respondents using it, followed by Facebook at 71% and Twitter at 67%. Other channels cited were YouTube (48%), blogging (44%) and online communities (22%).
When asked to name their most important channel, LinkedIn ((26%) was the leader, followed by Facebook (20%), blogging (19%), online communities (14%) and Twitter (13%). LinkedIn was favored for its lead generation capability, Facebook for the fact that its users “pay attention”, while blogs and online communities were recognized for their customer feedback and engagement.
The study uncovered some reservations B-to-B marketers have about Twitter. Although used by 67% of the respondents, Twitter was only the top channel for 13%, perhaps indicating that Twitter is an important piece of the overall social marketing picture, but not the best channel for B-to-B marketers to find value. Many marketers only see Twitter as a way to support website traffic and product/event promotions.
When asked to name the top three roadblocks to adopting social media, 70% cited a lack of resources as being the biggest obstacle. Other challenges included poorly defined success metrics and key performance indicators (57%), lack of knowledge about social media (44%) and management resistance (22%).
An interesting fact revealed by the reports is the lack of measurement by B-to-B marketers. About 75% responded that they do not measure the ROI of their social marketing programs.
I think the study reinforces that in the B-to-B environment social media adoption has trailed the consumer market, but that in the B-to-B arena it is here to stay and will just keep growing in importance in the B-to-B marketing mix.