I’ve been fascinated by some statistics around B2B use of social media vs. B2C. According to White Horse Digital Marketing Agency:
• 32% of B2B marketers are active within social media daily, as opposed to 52% of B2C marketers.
• 46% of B2B marketers say internal decision-makers view social media as irrelevant, compared to only 12% of B2C marketers.
• 60% of B2B marketing companies have no full-time social media bodies as opposed to 46% of B2C companies.
• Only 10% of B2B marketing companies have 5 or more part-time staff involved in social media compared to 19% in B2C.
The number that really hit me was the second one: 46% of internal decision makers at B2B companies think social media is irrelevant? Really? This makes me wonder how these decision-makers are defining social media. If they are looking at social media as Facebook and Twitter, than I can understand that. However, if it’s using social media tools to engage their clients and prospects in a conversation about how their company can better serve them, and how their products and services can be better tailored to meet their needs, then it makes no sense.
It’s easy to lose sight of the real value of social media. If you look at social media as a specific tool instead of a strategy, then you are missing the forest for the trees. The power of social media is in transforming the conversation between an organization and its clients or members from a one-way conversation, to a two-way conversation, and then to a multi-dimensional conversation. A multi-dimensional conversation creates a community, where clients and members are talking to each other, sharing ideas and best practices. The organization then becomes a contributor to the conversation and the moderator, making sure everyone plays nice and providing factual information as needed. The value of this can be hard to measure, but the numbers are getting better. One client discovered that members of their community were almost 50% more likely to buy additional products then non-members. Numbers like this should cause B2B decision-makers to sit up and take notice!