Compared to last year, B2B marketers around the world (but primarily based in the UK) are focusing their social media efforts more on generating leads and sales and less so on driving traffic and strengthening thought leadership, according to [download page] a report from B2BMarketing.net. The study, which finds that branding and positioning remains the top social objective among B2B marketers, asked respondents to rate the effectiveness of a variety of post types.
Interestingly, respondents were most likely to tab videos as their most effective, with 55% deeming them very effective and an additional 37% rating them somewhat effective. Photos weren’t far behind, rated very effective by 47% and somewhat effective by another 42%. That’s despite several studies (including this one) indicating that brands get more engagement from images on Facebook than videos.
The difference may come from the audience; B2B marketers’ audiences may be more attuned to videos than the broader consumer audience. Also, engagement rate studies such as the one referenced above tend to zero in on Facebook posts rather than the wider spectrum of social platforms. In fact, the B2BMarketing.net report finds that B2B marketers are far more active on LinkedIn and Twitter than on Facebook: some 74% have a LinkedIn profile that they regularly update, as do 73% on Twitter. By comparison, just 53% have a regularly updated Facebook profile, a seemingly small figure. YouTube (37%) and Google+ (26%) are further back in active use by B2B marketers.
It would be interesting to see how those figures reflect B2B buyers’ own activity. A new MarketingCharts Debrief [download page] on reaching and influencing B2B buyers and decision-makers lists American buyers’ most-visited social networks across various platforms (desktops, mobile web, and smartphone apps), finding some unexpected differences in buyers’ preferences across each. Also of note: the reasons (personal or business) buyers (across North America and Europe) give for using social networks vary significantly. Understanding these platform and usage differences is critical to refining a social media strategy aimed at reaching buyers and decision-makers.
One thing is fairly clear from the Debrief: buyers and decision-makers in the US are active social media users, despite some notable discrepancies across platforms. And respondents to the B2BMarketing.net survey seem to agree: only 1 in 5 believe that a lack of audience is a top-2 challenge faced in relation to social media. The clear leader in that category is difficulty proving ROI, cited by half of the respondents as a top-2 challenge.
Currently, only 29% of respondents say they can demonstrate ROI from their social media activity at least half of the time. While that’s a significant step up from 16% responding that way last year, it’s still outweighed by the proportion (34%) who rarely or never can demonstrate ROI.
About the Data: The questions for the report were devised by B2B Marketing and Circle Research. An online survey was conducted in March 2014, with 288 client-side marketers completing it.