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B2B Marketers’ Social Media Efforts Have Much Room to Mature

Let’s just start by saying that the B2C approach vs. the B2B approach to social media marketing is often at opposite ends of the spectrum. Not always but often. Honestly, it should be. Asking you friends about an electronics purchase or the best place to find shoes is an inherently different mindset that finding the right multi-million dollar software and hardware combination for a business. In other words, there aren’t a lot of OMG’s in the B2B social media space (Thank God!).

Recent findings back this idea. eMarketer shows some research conducted in November of 2011 by Pardot that indicates where B2B marketers are spending their social media time.

As you can see, LinkedIn leads the way while good old blogging comes in second with both being well ahead of Twitter and Facebook. This makes sense since business related interactions aren’t nearly as warm and fuzzy as personal interactions. That’s not to say that there are no personal relationships in business. Heck, most sales happen as a result of the personal relationship developed between seller and prospect. When it comes to getting hard core data and information, however, there is less collaboration and more investigation in the B2B space.

Another interesting thing of note comes from research performed by BtoB Magazine. Their findings show that there is plenty of room for growth with regard to how marketers see their social media efforts. Of course, the agencies serving these companies look a bit different but they should.

With 75% of the B2B marketers being in either the early stages of social media or not using it at all this could be the most promising sector of all for social media. It certainly should be an area for serious consideration for those who are consulting on social media marketing.

So why the lag behind the B2C space? It’s the same as it was with the adoption of search marketing by B2B marketers. There are established ways of doing business in the B2B space that can continue on somewhat uninterrupted even in the Internet age. B2B marketers are not leading or bleeding edge types in most cases because their customers aren’t either. There’s nothing wrong with that. It just is what it is.

So rather than whine that B2B marketers don’t get it etc., etc. it might be better to think that they get more than many people think. After all, they have decided that much of hype around social media hasn’t warranted an all out abandonment of things that still work. In fact, one might argue that the slower adoption rate in the B2B space is the smarter way to go.

What’s your take? Is the B2B space just behind the times or is it now positioned to take advantage of social media in a significant way?

  • Mark

    At Magicbuz we believe that in the B2B environment social media should be used to secure initial introductions to clients and to identify the correct people to deal with. Recommendation by peers still carries a lot of weight, but, as you say, the peer group when it comes to multimillion dollar purchases is not going OMG onFacebook.

  • http://www.neiljashworth.com Neil Ashworth

    Some very interesting stats there – which would help to prove that (for B2B) social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter should be kept (warmly) at arms length. Business is fast paced and too much time is lost in reality by encouraging employees to frequent and fraternise without a clear marketing direction. Content will always be king to creating and converting readers to customers and this means adopting a content driven campaign. Throw into this a mix of quality business relationships, fostered through credible contacts (LinkedIn) and you have the basis/foundation for business success.