Five Awesome B2B Social Media Statistics

Chad Wiebesick
Chad Wiebesick Social Media & Interactive Marketing Director, PWB Marketing Communications

Posted on August 25th 2011

Do you think social media isn’t for B2B organizations? Think again. It’s true B2B tends to be slower to adopt new trends. But social media is now mainstream and we have proof B2B companies are generating demand and getting leads using it.

We set out to find the top five B2B social media statistics. We had some parameters:

  • We wanted to find recent research no older than last year. The social landscape changes so rapidly we wanted the latest research we could get.
  • We wanted a variety of different sources – not just from digital marketing agencies with a vested interest in promoting social media.
  • We also wanted more than just two or three statistics.

Top B2B Social Media Statistics

With that said, here is what we rounded up:

  1. B2B companies that blog generate 67% more leads per month than those who do not. Source: Hubspot, State of Inbound Marketing Lead Generation Report, 2010
  2. 69% of B2B marketers are shifting their budgets toward social media. Source: MarketingSherpa, October 2010
  3. 41% of B2B companies are acquiring customers through Facebook. Source: Hubspot, State of Inbound Marketing Report, 2011
  4. 86% of B2B companies are using social media, compared to 82% of B2C companies. Source: White Horse, March 2010
  5. Social media helps B2B marketers improve search results. Source: BtoB Magazine, July 2010

What does this mean for B2B organizations? You must absolutely be where your customers are – and increasingly your customers are spending time on social networks.

Follow Your Customers

“But wait," you say. “I’m an industrial B2B manufacturer. What’s a Facebook page supposed to do for me?” Social media isn’t just Facebook. Facebook might not be right for your business, though it is for Steel Master Buildings, a manufacturer of prefabricated steel buildings for industrial use. They have a highly successful and effective Facebook page. Keep the fundamentals in mind: Identify where your customers are first and then choose the right social channel.

In some cases, YouTube might be a better venue. Think about highlighting the benefits of your complex industrial product through a series of YouTube videos. Then equip your sales force to use the videos as a sales tool. If the videos are smart, fun, and even humorous – gasp! – your sales reps can share them with prospects as a way to get their foot in the door. Take a look at what Kinaxis, a supply chain risk management company, did with their YouTube video.

Does your B2B company have a social strategy? What’s holding you up?

Chad Wiebesick

Chad Wiebesick

Social Media & Interactive Marketing Director, PWB Marketing Communications

Chad Wiebesick is the Social Media & Interactive Marketing Director at PWB Marketing Communications in Ann Arbor, Michigan, a B2B agency specializing in integrating digital technologies with traditional media. Chad helps businesses promote themselves on the Internet through social media, search engine marketing, online community building, mobile marketing, and viral marketing. He has certifications in both Google AdWords and Google Analytics. Visit http://www.PWB.com/blog or call (734) 369-9177. Connect on Twitter @PWB_Marcomm and @Wiebesick.
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Comments

Posted on August 25th 2011 at 10:36AM

I'm surprised at the 41% Facebook stat.  I had a Facebook page for my business but recently got rid of it as it wasn't adding anything - unlike both twitter and LinkedIn.

 

I wouldn't agree that Steel Master Buildings is strictly a B2B business - their information tab states they sell to commercial and residential... so B2C surely?

Chad Wiebesick
Posted on August 25th 2011 at 6:01PM

@Bridie I find a lot of "Best B2B Facebook Pages" cite companies like Cisco, American Express, Dell, etc. I hear very little about old-school industrial B2B companies. I like Steel Master Buildings because they are more industrial. They might sell through distributors rather than consumers directly.  

Posted on August 25th 2011 at 12:20PM

2010 stats are almost becoming "old" with the way social media changes and grows so quickly. I wish those stats you used were more current, but they are still pretty powerful. 

John Aymes
Posted on August 25th 2011 at 3:16PM

Great post, the stats are awesome. Social media platforms like facebook present social proof to prospects, make lead generation much more effective and take the coldness out of cold calling. Here's a blog post you might want to read: 

http://socialmediatoday.com/ckochster/331100/4-reasons-why-facebook-stinks-b2b-marketing#comment-43889?ref=user_profile_comments

Chad Wiebesick
Posted on August 25th 2011 at 5:42PM

The article you shared John is a good counterpoint to why Facebook isn't right for every business. Particularly in B2B, with a typically long buying cycle, relationships matter. They matter offline and they matter online. If a B2B company can connect with a business executive outside of work -- say, on Facebook -- when that executive is in a more leisure frame of mind, that can be a good way to nurture a relationship. 

Taryn Erickson
Posted on August 25th 2011 at 6:39PM

Chad - I loved your article and appreciate your insight! Happy to be connected. Let's collaborate! @Taryn44 http://someffect.wordpress.com/. You did a great job of helping social media be relevant to B2B. Rock on.

Posted on August 25th 2011 at 8:27PM

Not buying it. I would like to know the businesses and business types that they got those stats from. Just think about it logically. Do decision makers, business owners and managers have ANY time for FB during the day? No. In the evening if they use FB it is for personal reasons, not business. Get rid of all the home businesses in those stats and it will be a different story.

Posted on August 26th 2011 at 3:06PM

Kevin,

You have a valid point; the more interesting statistic I'd be interested in is what is the actual close percentage of potential leads. If 67% more leads are produced for companies that blog versus those that don't two things come to mind: one is what is the close ratio of those leads and the fact that perhaps many companies aren't producing many leads using the more traditional lead generation tools, to begin with, which is why there is a higher lead percentage with the blog sites.

In my opinion it's not about leads it's about sales and sales are made by decision makers!

Chad Wiebesick
Posted on August 30th 2011 at 1:57PM

@Kevin and @LJJ - here is the full study from Hubspot citing the 67% figure: http://www.hubspot.com/Portals/53/docs/inbound_marketing_best_practices.pdf

Posted on August 27th 2011 at 12:58AM

I agree that YouTube is the best forum for for B2B.  It gives a human face to a company and not only allows but invites dialogue.  At this point I don't think Facebook can compete with that 

Chad Wiebesick
Posted on September 6th 2011 at 5:08PM

@Debbie - check out this B2B viral YouTube video from Corning. It's received nearly 15 million views: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Cf7IL_eZ38&feature=youtu.be

Posted on September 1st 2011 at 8:37PM

"'I’m an industrial B2B manufacturer. What’s a Facebook page supposed to do for me?' Social media isn’t just Facebook." That's a great observation. Current social media sites are good mainly for B2C marketing and are not ideal for B2B, as the needs of B2B companies are completely different . We have realized this and we have recently launched a B2B Social Media site http://www.MyTradeZone.com, where businesses can create their company profile, list products or services, request price quotes, and follow other companies.

Chad Wiebesick
Posted on September 2nd 2011 at 4:40PM

Good luck with the launch of your new B2B social network, Georgio. Sounds intriguing. I'll look forward to hearing about new developments. 

Posted on September 6th 2011 at 6:30PM

This is a great post, and I really love the statistics. It is great to see that so many businesses are turning to social media for a lot of their marketing. I recenltly wrote a blog post that highlights how businesses are using social media. You can check it out here: http://www.mysmn.com/b2b-social-media-the-business-pov/

Posted on September 13th 2011 at 8:36PM

First of all, thank you Chad for featuring SteelMaster in your post.

@Birdie, you're correct. We are both a B2B and B2C company, but that acutally makes it harder for us to market to our customers and gain a following through social media. We have to find a way to make our product appeal to both residential customers and commercial clients. For us, the best way to do that has been through photos and customer stories from both ends of the spectrum.

Chad Wiebesick
Posted on September 15th 2011 at 7:22PM

@Elizabeth - thanks for weighing in. With two disparate audiences, do you find you need separate presences (two blogs, for instance) to be relevant to both residential (B2C) and commercial (B2B) clients? Would love to hear your thoughts on this. 

Posted on October 24th 2011 at 4:07PM

I head up the social media side of an international, industrial B2B PR agency, and I think you’re dead on in these assertions. In my experience, communicators are definitely using social media in all areas of business. I think the industrial side is catching on a bit more slowly, but this is most likely down to a lack of strong project ideas that compete with the established b2b marketing methods.

I would love to see some more success stories. We’re pretty proud of our own foray into social media, which you can view here:

 

http://www.youtube.com/user/SE10PR?blend=5&ob=5

 

or

 

http://se10.com/SE10Blog

 

chris

Ellie_Kef
Posted on April 8th 2012 at 6:49PM
I agree with your point. B2B companies have to adopt creative ways of social media communication.
It is a fact that videos can engage your audience better than other media.

Guess what, the first B2B video sales pitch was filmed in 1957, the protagonist was Milt Grant and the pitch was about selling advertising time on his show to sponsors. Take a pick on this on You Tube (non embeddable).

Each company has corporate responsibility stories, or R&D stories, or crises stories to narrate. You just need a good scenario, an offer and entertainment.
Quoting Tim Washer who served as head of social media video production for IBM, ‘there is still an enhancement to brand equity that happens when you make people laugh. They will listen!’
SamJ
Posted on August 13th 2012 at 7:17PM

I think B2B companies have a major challenge on solial media sites like FB because most companies aren't searching for solutions or information on FB.  For B2B I think there still isn't a real solution or reason for investing a lot of time into FB.  But I could be mistaken?