3 B2B Social Media Takeaways From The Business.com Social Media Survey

Note: Research from this post was taken from the 2009 Business Social Media Benchmarking Survey. For a full copy of the research please visit Business.com

Last week I talked about the fact that B2B Social Media needs surveys and research that doesn’t suck. While the 2009 Business Social Media Benchmarking Survey is far from perfect, it is better than much of the pointless research that is constantly making its way to the web. While the study is fairly lengthy, I want to pull out three graphs that I thought were uniquely applicable to B2B marketers and discuss their implications.

1. Senior Management Uses Social Media As A Resource For Business Information
BDC 2009 Job Level

Something that is often presumed is that entry-level staff may use social media for business information, but that if you are looking to influence decision makers higher in B2B organizations then Social Media is a waste of time. The graph above shows quite the opposite to be true. If you believe this research, than all upper level management is actively using social media as a source for business information. Likely the main reason for this is that with more executives using online search for research, they are finding blogs, podcasts and other social information that often tend to rank very well in search engines like Google.

2. Webinars and Podcasts Lead The Way Social Sources Of Business Information
BDC 2009 Webinar

I wanted to discuss this graphic, because if it is accurate then it is easily the most surprising data point from the entire survey. No previous research that I have seen has put webinars and downloadable media as the number one type of social content for business information. The possible implications of this as it relates to B2B could be that organization firewalls still block many social networks and blogs, but are more friendly to webinars, as they seem business focused and presented through corporate sites or custom gateways.

Webinars do offer a good opportunity to deliver information to a relevant audience, however, the challenge is identifying the great presenters in your organization and giving them the compelling information. It will be interesting to see if more B2B companies adopt webinars as a form of customer education in 2010.

3. Businesses Looking At Social Media ROI The Wrong Way
BDC 2009 ROI

The graph above is the most disappointing of the survey. It demonstrates that companies still don’t understand the big picture. Web site traffic should not be the main indicator for determining social media ROI. The graph continues to show that companies think of social media as exposure, but like traditional advertising and public relations, they haven’t begun to think of it as part of the sales funnel. This data seems to show that 2009 was the year of making social media ROI a discussion issue, while 2010 needs to be the year of understanding social media ROI measurement as tied to business objectives.

Kudos to the team at Business.com for putting together a pretty interesting survey report. I recommend that you take a look at the entire document. What do you think about these three sets of data? Are these accurate in your business?


  1. says

    The first graph does surprise me. CxOs may be *consuming* social media content – and it would make sense that they’re coming in through search just like everybody else — but I don’t see them *participating* in social media. It’s the director & below level I see chatting with us on blogs or Twitter.

    The webinar piece is a bit surprising, too. That’s a big time commitment. I do think marketers may have instinctively recognized that — in our space there are probably 36 hours of webinar each day you could join.

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