For many industrial companies, B2B social media marketing can deliver quite a challenge.
On one hand, companies get a sense of obligation to have a social media presence — first, because everyone else seems to have one, and second, because some social platforms can truly be part of an effective B2B social media strategy.
On the other hand, many B2B industrials downplay the importance of social media in their marketing mix because they don’t perceive a strong industry presence there, or they’ve struggled to accumulate much of a social following.
While it’s true that your company’s Twitter profile or LinkedIn page won’t likely accumulate the same legions of followers that a famous influencer might, you don’t have to gather millions of followers to increase your B2B brand awareness, engage your target audiences, and generate leads.
RELATED: Social Media for Manufacturing Companies: Which Networks Create Leads?
It’s important to note that social media marketing for B2B industrial companies, and ways of engaging with users in the space, is different from consumer brand playbooks. To best use the platforms, it’s key to take a look at what B2B companies and users are doing on social media, where audiences are engaging, and which content formats are getting results. These statistics provide some helpful insights.
B2B Companies & Social Media Presence
Not every social platform is right for every company, and if you’re going to commit to a platform, it’s important to do it well — so be selective and intentional. On average, each B2B marketer creates content for 4 different audiences, so social media platform choice can be an important part of segmentation and distribution. And many companies find their social media investment pays off:
1. 75% of B2B marketers include social media posts in their marketing tactical mix, second to email marketing (Source)
2. Social media marketing accounts for, on average, 22% of B2B marketing spend (Source)
3. 40% of internet users report using social media for work (Source)
4. 66% of marketers report that they get sales and marketing leads from social media (Source)
5. The total number of social media users grew 10% in 2020 to more than half of the world’s population (3.96 billion, or 51%) now using social media (Source)
6. B2B social media content’s primary use is building brand awareness (Source)
7. Half of all B2B content created is for top-of-funnel audiences (Source)
8. In a global study by Hootsuite and We Are Social, 46% of women and 41% of men reported spending more time on social media in 2020 (Source)
9. Globally, the average user spends 2 hours and 20 minutes daily on social media (Source)
LinkedIn: A Moving Target for Account-Based Marketing
LinkedIn has become more than a professional networking tool. While algorithm changes have made it challenging to reach wider audiences, it can be a great place for engaging with and learning about your buyer personas. LinkedIn’s Sponsored Content, Dynamic Ads, and InMail are engagement-focused paid social media options, and LinkedIn Groups have built value by building community, especially during the pandemic. Matched Audiences tools enable website retargeting, account targeting, and contact targeting, for teams focused on account-based marketing (ABM) efforts.
10. Among LinkedIn users are 46 million B2B decision makers (Source)
11. 89% of marketers report using LinkedIn to distribute content, second only to email (Source)
12. In April 2020, LinkedIn’s U.S. users hit 160 million (Source)
13. According to LinkedIn’s self-serve ad tools, more than 702 million people can be reached using LinkedIn ads (Source)
14. LinkedIn’s audience skews male with 57% of users self-reporting as male (Source)
15. LinkedIn accounts for 50% of all B2B social traffic (Source)
16. Company updates that include links generate 45% higher follower engagement — demonstrating the platform’s effectiveness in driving traffic to website content (Source)
17. InMail boasts a 52% average open rate (Source)
FOR MORE LINKEDIN TIPS, CHECK OUT THESE ARTICLES:
How to Grow Your LinkedIn Network to Get More Marketing Value
4 No-Fail Ways to Boost LinkedIn Company Page Success
On-the-move Millennials are on Twitter
Twitter’s user statistics fluctuate more than other social platforms, but its users are by and large digital devotees, and it can be an effective tool for connecting with them. Twitter’s own tips recommend using the medium to amplify executive insights and value statements, as opposed to product specifics or sales pitches — and consistent brand voice is key.
18. 86% of B2B marketers use Twitter to distribute content, organic and paid (Source)
19. 29% of B2B marketers report using Twitter as a paid media platform (Source)
20. Among Twitter users who tweeted at companies and got a response, 83% said they felt better about the company and were more likely to do business with it (Source)
21. Clicking on links accounts for 92% of all user interaction with tweets (Source)
22. Consider a content ratio of 9 to 1 (content your followers will love to more direct promotional content) to keep your readers open to the direct stuff (Source)
23. An early year 149% surge and subsequent 90% drop in Twitter users in Russia had an outsize effect on 2020 Twitter stats (Source)
24. In 2020, 😂 was the most-used Twitter emoji, followed by ❤️ (Source)
Revive your social media profiles: A 5-step guide
Facebook: Still King
Facebook’s strongest role is in connecting with consumers, but it has its place in B2B marketing, especially as an effective platform for photos and video content — and it’s a good place for recruiting and company culture content.
25. In a 2020 HubSpot report, marketers reported creating more content for Facebook than any other social media channel — even more than their own company website (Source)
26. The median global user clicked on 13 Facebook ads per month (Source)
27. Facebook boasts 2.6 billion monthly active users, keeping it at number 1 (Source)
28. Only 3% of Facebook users report that it’s the only social media platform they use (Source)
Bonus: Facebook’s baby, Instagram, has more than a billion users, and about half of them are daily users — and while 72% of American businesses use it, its demographics skew under 34 years old, and most marketing content is consumer- or entrepreneur-focused. (Source)
YouTube Underscores Video’s Increasing Role
It’s easy to forget that YouTube is a powerful search engine — the world’s second largest, in fact. That searchability makes it an obvious content distribution and promotion channel for B2B target audiences.
29. YouTube ranks second globally with 2 billion monthly active users (Source)
30. Google reports that 70% of B2B buyers and researchers view video at various stages of the buyer’s journey (Source)
31. Video content was ranked “most useful” by 53% of B2B tech buyers — over case studies, blog posts, and whitepapers (in that order) (Source)
32. 54% of people surveyed said they want marketers to provide more video content (Source)
33. 42% of B2B marketers intend to increase their use of video in 2021 (Source)
RELATED: YouTube vs. Vimeo vs. Wistia: What's Best for Video Content Marketing?
Scribd (formerly SlideShare)
Thought leadership is a vital part of B2B brand promotion, and in-depth technical content deserves its own specialized social platform. That’s where Scribd can serve a very specific purpose for content distribution, placing your long-form content like guides and e-books in the crosshairs of subscribers seeking high-quality, information-packed content. Scribd’s purchase of SlideShare from LinkedIn brings presentations to the platform.
34. Scribd content, published in 90 languages, is accessed by about 60 million readers per month (Source)
B2B Paid Social
While nearly 9 in 10 B2B marketers use social media as part of their content marketing strategy, its potential for improving organic SEO performance would suggest its use is going to continue increasing.
35. 67% of B2B respondents reported using paid social media, and 62% said they saw ROI from it (Source)
36. Of B2B marketers who use paid channels, 72% say that includes paid social ads (Source)
37. LinkedIn occupies the top spot for paid and organic B2B marketing content (Source)
One to watch: TikTok, while not yet a common B2B channel, is one of the fastest growing social media platforms with 800 million active users, with the largest fraction Gen Z (Source)
Just as important as platform selection is content format. Studies show that prospects prefer different content types at different positions within the funnel. Infographics, video, whitepapers… they all have their most effective place in your buyer’s journey.
In addition, top B2B digital marketing performers don’t rely solely on digital content distribution channels. They also take advantage of opportunities for public speaking at events, writing articles in third-party publications, and media relations/influencer relations for brand promotion.
Detailed attention to B2B best practices can help you get more from your social media presence. Download our list of valuable tips by clicking the link below.