A preview of some key findings from B2B Marketing's upcoming Social Media Benchmarking Report; focusing on use of strategy, social channel choice, use of content and ROI. Full report to be released in March.
Good afternoon.My name is Joel Harrison. I’m founder and ‘editorial & content director’ (stupid title, I know) at B2B Marketing.I’m going to give you a whistle-stop tour of some of the results of our latest Benchmarking Report into B2B social media.I know that you’re not all B2B – some of you are B2C. Or the dark side, as we like to say. But don’t worry, I won’t hold it against you.
A little bit about us. You may know us as B2B Marketing magazine – these days we do much more than that.We’re the only dedicated information resource for the B2B market - these days we produce content in a variety of formats and through a variety of channels, including social media. We have 50k followers on Twitter, 25k members of our LinkedIn group, 1700 likes on Facebook, 416 people have put us in circles on Google Plus. So we’re doing our best!
So a little bit about this report. In-depth detailed content is a core part of our offering these days, including Benchmarking Reports, Best Practice Guides and specific reports based on particular topics or audience bases, including the Marketing Leaders Report.Social media is obviously a hot topic, and this report is a repeat of one first produced two years ago, when we’d tracked what we believed was social media emerging as a gimmick into a serious part of the marketing mix, and potentially fundamentally changing the landscape and the ways of engaging in B2B.
We started by asking people about how important social media is to them and as part of their marketing. Bearing in mind the hype and enthusiasm around social media, you might be forgiven for expecting this to be pretty high – critical event. Well, as you can see here, less than ten per cent regard it as critical.
Further to the issue of importance, we also wanted to understand how strategically they were regarded it and were acting. Did this surprise you? It did me.
So why are B2B brands using social? Reasons seem to be a bit confused. The number one reason is driving traffic to the website, but that’s a tactic rather than an objective, which suggests that they may not really know why they are using it.Brand positioning and ‘thought leadership’ could be seen as the same thing – ultimately it’s about positioning, and it’s not going to impact on revenue. Only just over one third are actually using social to generate leads, and one in ten to nurture them. These are the things which will help marketers prove their worth, and justify their existence.
So B2B brands are doing social, but not particularly strategically. So what social channels are they using? Twitter and LinkedIn are the obvious winners, but worryingly marketers expect their use will decline in the next 12 months… or perhaps you could argue that because the environment is evolving so fast, the don’t feel they can rely on something being relevant in 12 months time. The four social platforms which respondents are confident will evolve in the next 12 months are industry specific communities (things like Spiceworks or Accounting Web) by 50 per cent, Pinterest by over 100 per cent, Slideshare by 150 per cent, and Google Plus by over 300 per cent! So it seems that we can be bullied into our social choices after all.
Content marketing has taken over from social media as the hot topic in B2B – we asked respondents how they were using social channels to promote particular types of content. The dark orange line demonstrate the extent to which a particular channel was being used, and the lighter one, how effective it was being.As you can see, video was both most popular and most effective, followed by infographics, and images came out strongly. This demonstrates that social is a very visual channel, and that image based content works best. Having said that, whitepapers still work pretty well.
But the most damning response comes in terms of demonstrating ROI on social media – again justifying your investment. Only 1 per cent can demonstrate ROI on all social activity, and less than one in five can demonstrate it more than half the time.Most worryingly, the ability to measure ROI on social has actually fallen in the last two years – B2B marketers are going backwards.
To be honest, it’s not a great result. It suggests that despite the hype and the opportunities, social is still a resource that B2B marketers are playing with, rather than using in a serious, strategic fashion, and in a way that will genuinely meet business objectives.It might even get worse. We did a separate IT industry benchmarking report this year, which suggested that social media has entered the ‘trough of dispondency’ with real cynicism developing. Bearing in mind the tech sector is generally infront of the rest of the B2b market, this may be what the future looks like.But there are plenty more findings and results which will help you optimise your social activity in the full report. It’s a Premium Product, therefore costs £99 plus VAT but otherwise is free to Premium Members.
Social Media Benchmarking Report - preview of findings
Key trends in B2B social mediaExclusive preview of selected BenchmarkingResearch results for What’s Trending event (30/01/13)Joel Harrison, editorial & content director www.b2bmarketing.net
About B2B Marketing• The only dedicated information provider for B2B marketers• Independent, established 2004• Multi-platform information provider• Online, print, reports, events, awards, training www.b2bmarketing.net
About this report• In-depth survey of over 200 B2B marketers• Aimed at uncovering key trends• Helping readers develop strategies and allocate budgets• Developed in association with Circle Research www.b2bmarketing.net
Importance ofsocial media• Only one in 10 regard social media as ‘critical’• Just over half (56 per cent) regard it as at least ‘important’• 45 per cent regard it as of limited or no importance• Conclusion: Despite the hype, social is still not a core channel in B2B www.b2bmarketing.net
Social strategy• Social media still isn’t treated as a strategic discipline• Only just over one third have a clearly defined strategy• Over 60 per cent are only doing ad hoc social mediaConclusion: No realimprovement in strategicthinking since 2011 www.b2bmarketing.net
Want more detail on the results?• The full report will be available on 1st of March – 40 pages plus• It’s free to Premium Members of B2B Marketing• Otherwise, you can buy online for discounted rate of £99 plus VAT (normal price £150 plus VAT) www.b2bmarketing.net
Thanks for listeningContactEmail: firstname.lastname@example.orgTel: 0207 438 1373To buy the report at the special discounted rate, email@example.com www.b2bmarketing.net