We have watched the B2B space lag behind in the Internet and social media marketing space for most of the existence of the industry. That’s not a knock on the B2B space really because the nature of Internet marketing lends itself much more readily to B2C plays.
Of course that doesn’t mean that social media doesn’t work for the B2B space. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth and as B2B marketers continue to see just how these options can fit into their business and marketing plans this area of the Internet is just starting to truly see the light. This epiphany of sorts could make 2012 a very interesting year in the B2B space for social media marketing.
As shown by some statistics from a study conducted by eMarketer, social media is being used. It’s the continual evolution of exactly HOW it is being used that will mark the arrival of the marketing tool to the space.
Of course, it would be a good idea to understand just what using social media marketing means in the B2B space. Setting up accounts and occasionally updating them is not using social media marketing as most well know but that is some B2B marketers perception of using social media marketing. The value isn’t lost on them though.
“Leveraging social media for branding and awareness-building can help humanize B2B companies, establish them as thought leaders, and offer new touchpoints for connecting with customers and prospects,” said Kimberly Maul, eMarketer writer/analyst and author of the new report, “B2B Social Media: A Growing Focus for Marketers.”
As for the actual social media outlets being used? Here is a look
As many have come to expect, LinkedIn leads the way but that is more likely attributable to the mindset that LinkedIn is positioned as THE place for the B2B space to be because it is about business. It certainly is an important place to be but as B2B social media marketers begin to grasp the business applications of Twitter, Facebook, Gogle+ and others they will understand that thought leadership in social media often walks side by side with things like PR and customer service.
It looks like 2012 will be a pivotal year in the B2B marketing space. With some more time and experience to pull on and more examples of success of social media marketing in B2B environments it will become harder and harder for B2B players to turn their backs on social media just because it’s not what they traditionally do.
For those that continue to have that attitude it will be interesting to see where their business is in a few short years as competitors embrace the inevitable.
What’s your take on the B2B space and social media marketing? Is it time?