Social media in B2B: from platforms to content… Ten years later.

Claude Malaison – June 18, 2019

What is the relevance of social media for B2B? We were asking ourselves this question almost ten years ago in this blog post, with statistics from eMarketer dating back to 2009. Lynda St-Arneault managed to sort out these trends which you will see, are very ‘2010’. Almost ten years… It’s an eternity in our post 2.0 world!

Is social media more of a B2C business?

– B2B companies were more likely to exploit social media marketing opportunities than B2C companies.

– B2B companies were much more active than B2C companies, in terms of the marketing initiatives they put forward in social networks.

– B2B companies managed profiles on more social media sites than B2C companies

Here is one of the graphs from the eMarketer study. It speaks for itself:

We looked at studies published last year and this year to seek a comparison and show if things had changed or not but we quickly realized that today’s stats no longer check on the same parameters.

Channels, strategies and content

Exit the type of initiative taken by the companies. The question no longer arises. In fact, all social media studies and their use in B2B now focus on which are the best social channels to put strategies and content into action rather than on platforms initiatives. And if you’re investigating the slightest on this side, bingo! You can find an overflow of statistics.

And in this area, the Content Marketing Institute and HubSpot are kings! First of all, this graph taken from a post on  blogdumodératreur, which shows the results from HubSpot in France on the best social channels in the two domains, namely B2C and B2B and surprisingly, LinkedIn is listed third in B2B. Cultural difference?

A little odd indeed, when on the other side of the Atlantic, the numbers are different. In fact, almost all other studies and statistics report the dominance of the socio-professional platform, including CMI and HubSpot. But not for the most recent study “2019 social media marketing industry report” by Michael A. Stelzner, founder and CEO of Social Media Examiner.

Note that this report lists the use of social media by marketers only and not by all, including customers. In the graph above, there is an increase in the use of Instagram and above all note for the first time, the entry of data relating to the use of bots. Also note that LinkedIn is solidly in second place and not far from Facebook. Very different than in France.

Also note in the screen shot below that 92% of marketers say they use LinkedIn more than any other social platform and that 80% of their leads are generated by this same platform.

Stats from the LinkedIn Marketing Solutions blog

Although these figures have been compiled by LinkedIn, they come from studies made by other sources, including once again, HubSpot, Forrester and CMI, the latter being the most prolific in terms of studies.

In the screen shot above, stemming from a post on Sproutsocial, which once again, quotes HubSpot, we find the 80% quoted above but also, an essential data in B2B, the fact that LinkedIn is doing 277% times better in lead generation than Facebook!

Mature or immature?

Both CMI and Forrester no longer focus their fields of study on the platforms but rather on strategies, especially content and the degree of maturity of companies. In the latter case, here are two other graphs coming from CMI first and then, a study done by one of Forrester’s B2B specialists, Laura Ramos.

If we summarize the two reports, CMI’s shows a higher rate of maturity in terms of marketing strategies in B2B content but Ms. Ramos notes that the strategies are missing the target in over 65% of cases due to lack of maturity and focus on the ultimate goal.

As a conclusion, I invite you to read these last two studies focusing more specifically on the marketing of B2B content and if you have any questions or comments, or you want to share your experiences with us on social media in B2B, write to us.

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