Posted February 24, 2009 4:21 am by with 9 comments

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A new report from Forrester Research, outlined by Groundswell, takes a look at how B2B buyers interact with social media—and by and large, they’re more engaged than their average peers.

The report breaks down the use of social media by Social Technographic role by type of social media involvement (types explained in this PPT):

The “Overall” column indicates what percentage of those surveyed fell into that type of social media activity. Note that, obviously, there is overlap between roles—Creators, who generate online content, can also be Critics, who leave blog comments, etc.

Takeaways here:

  • 91% of these decision-makers consume social media including blogs, video, and customer reviews.
  • 69% of Spectators use social media for business purposes.
  • 55% of the B2B buyers in this survey are Joiners—they’ve created profiles on social networks.
  • After Spectators, the most popular role is Critics (again, people who leave comments on blogs, review products, etc.), with 58% of those sampled engaging in this activity, and 37% using it for business purposes.
  • Other than the Inactives, B2B buyers in IT fields were more engaged in social media—but the gap between IT buyers and non-IT buyers is narrowing.
  • 43% are creating media, including blogs and videos.

The report also made some recommendations and general observations, including:

  • Buyers use social technology but don’t rate it highly in terms of its influence on their buying decisions, despite the fact that they count on peers’ opinions to make decisions.
  • Social applications should be integrated into other marketing. For example, National Instruments makes technical content from its customer community central in its marketing activity—this is a model other B2B sellers should follow.
  • Reach out to people by role—people with the same job description form natural communities.

What other applications can we see from this information?