Great article over on Social Media Examiner, one of our favourite sources of social media opinion and expertise,  by  – all about the relevance of social media to the B2B sector – is that your sector?
Do you primarily market to other businesses? Does that mean that you’ve discounted social media marketing as having any relevance to how you can grow your business because you see it as part of the mix only for those businesses that market to the consumer?
In the 2012 Social Media Marketing Industry Report,Mike Stelzner asked marketers in the US how they’re using social media. The key points to note:
Over 93% use social media to market their businesses – there’s been a significant increase since the 2010 survey when the figure was only 88%. This is a US survey but the pattern is clear – social media marketing is established as part of the essential mix when it comes to finding and cultivating customers.
Benefits of social media marketing – B2B marketers noted the following:

  • Over 56% of B2B marketers acquired new business partnerships through social media (compared to 45% of B2C marketers)
  • Nearly 60% of B2B marketers saw improved search rankings from their social efforts (compared to 50% of B2C marketers)
  • B2B marketers are more able to gather marketplace insights from their social efforts (nearly 69% vs. 60% of B2C marketers)
  • The one area where B2B marketers significantly lag behind their B2C counterparts is in developing a loyal fan base. 63% of B2C marketers found social media helped them develop loyal fans, compared to only 53% of B2B marketers.
Observation: That last point is interesting – even though the percentage of B2B marketers that cultivated a loyal following on social platforms is less than B2C marketers, it’s still 53%. That’s over half who believed they had created longer term value from their social relationships in terms of loyalty. When you look at that in conjunction with the real, measurable effects of their social media activities – increase in organic SEO, better rankings on search engines, and worthwhile business partnerships, the question has to be, if 50% – 60% of businesses are seeing these benefits, why aren’t the others?
In my opinion, it’s simple – it’s all about how you are approaching your social media. When you choose who you work with as social media marketing partners, you need to know they have experience of the sorts of campaigns that have created the positive effects and results we talk about above. Ask for testimonials and social media case studies when you talk to social media marketing managers and agencies and ensure that what you see confirms they can achieve real and meaningful results for your business.