As a B2B research agency, several clients have posed us the same question recently, ‘Should we be present on social media?’

The answer to this question, is dictated by the answer to another. ‘Is it meaningfully possible to engage your target market this way?’ Answer ‘yes’ and social
media should be on your agenda.

And as social media matures, increasingly it is appropriate. This is illustrated by the What works where in B2B? 2012 study (Circle Research and Omobono). This survey of 224 B2B buyers of B2B goods and services (your target market) found 71 per cent regularly use social media for business purposes. Here’s an important caveat though: in most cases ‘social media’ actually means ‘LinkedIn’. Sixty five per cent regularly use LinkedIn in a work context, but only 15 per cent say the same of Facebook, 13 per cent of YouTube and 12 per cent of Twitter.

The state of B2B social media

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So, hang around on social media, especially LinkedIn, and odds are you’ll come across your target market. And if you believe in the wisdom of crowds, this latest B2B Marketing benchmarking report (based on a survey of 234 client-side B2B marketers – your peers) gives some useful pointers about strategy.

Firstly, set aside around 10 per cent of your marketing budget. This is the average spend B2B marketers dedicate to social media.

Secondly, make the case. When asked about the biggest challenges in social media, ‘proving ROI’ (cited by 25 per cent) and ‘gaining internal buy-in’ (19 per cent) are second only to ‘engaging the target audience’ (27 per cent).

Thirdly, choose your channels wisely. Most B2B marketers use a multichannel approach – 85 per cent have a presence on Twitter, 82 per cent on LinkedIn, 77 per cent on YouTube and 71 per cent on Facebook. But is this necessary? Remember, for most B2B buyers, social media is limited to LinkedIn.

The Social Media Benchmark Report is available to buy (and free to B2B Marketing Members) here.

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