B2B and the Social Media Growth Curve
Social media is used for marketing by almost all businesses. But it may be flattening just a little, according to a report by Michael A. Stelzner, sponsored by Social Media Examiner.
Of 3,813 marketers surveyed, 94% are active in social media. And 83% said it is important to their businesses. But that’s down from 90% last year.
The biggest challenge is measuring results—40% said that’s one of the top questions they want answered, Stelzner wrote. Many also want to learn how to find customers or prospects.
Another big questions is how to engage audiences. Firms want to know: “How do I create engaging content that will keep people following our social media channels?”, Stelzner writes.
The most popular social network, Facebook, is used by 96% of all B2C marketers and 87% of B2B. But LinkedIn is tied with Facebook among B2B companies. And B2B outfits are more likely than B2C to blog and use Google+.
YouTube, employed by 69% of B2B marketers and 59% of B2C, is poised for the most rapid growth in usage—76% plan to increase it. Another 67% expect to ramp up their Google+ activities.
Why do companies use social media? The top benefits are increased exposure (85%), increased traffic (69%), marketplace insight (65%) and lead generation (58%).
Outside of social media, the top channel remains email. Of all the marketers surveyed, 87% use email, and I bet it gets more of the spend. The No. 2 channel, search engine optimization, is employed by 65%.
They’re followed by event marketing (64%), press releases (55%) and direct mail (41%).
Online ads are used by 38%. B2B marketers are much more likely to use search engine optimization and events.
Stelzner notes that “a significant 59% of marketers are using social media for 6 hours or more and 33% for 11 or more hours weekly,” and that “nearly 15% of marketers spend more than 20 hours each week on social media.
He adds: “Those with more years of social media experience spend more time each week
conducting social media activities.”