New Research: 60% of B2B Decision Makers Use Social Media

According to a new report Social Strategy for B2B Marketing 2011 from Global Web Index, B2B decision makers are the most socially engaged in the world when compared to average internet users.

Social Network Use
39% of B2B decision makers had used a micro-blog (like Twitter) in the last month and only 22% of average internet users did. 60% had used a social network compared to 50% for the average internet user.

Influence of Social Media
Social media communication has become the most influential channel for business purchases globally, out-ranking face-to-face meetings, conferences, client entertaining or traditional trade advertising in most markets. Conversations on a social network led the category of what most influenced all decision makers at 15%, while direct mail was second at 13%. It was just a touch higher for senior decision makers at 16%, which was even with sales presentations for these senior leaders.

Global Market Preferences
There a sizable readership of this blog around the world, and our focus is usually on the US, since that is where we are based. So I’m happy to have some global data about the markets where social media matters more. According to the study, social media conversations are valued the most over sales meetings in Australia, Spain, Argentina, the UK and Japan. The countries that are more traditional in their purchase influence, where face-to-face interactions rule the day are Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Sweden, Mexico and Indonesia.

Increase in Social Media Use
Social network usage among decision makers increased from 41% to 60% from July 2009 to July 2011, while micro-blogging grew from 21% to 39% in the same period. And breaking this down from a country perspective, the results in China for social media growth is most compelling. Chinese B2B decision makers have increased their usage of social media from 31% to 60% over the past two years.

“Social media has become an essential tool for business to business marketers and in some markets participation in these platforms could be the difference between getting your foot in the door and making the sale. Our research highlights the need for B2B marketers to have a sophisticated strategy for leveraging the right platforms, empowering their staff to participate and making contact with client decision makers,” said Brett Petersen, Senior Strategy Consultant at GlobalWebIndex.

Have you seen this kind of social media adoption in your B2B company or in your customers?

59% of B2B Decision Makers Researching with Smartphones

B2B buyers are using smartphones in greater numbers as part of the buying process. According a recent study conducted by TriComB2B and the University of Dayton School of Business Administration and shared by eMarketer, 59% of B2B purchase decision makers have used their smartphone to research products and services when they are considering purchases. This makes it critical for marketers to publish information in a mobile-friendly format, whether that is a on a mobile-optimized website or in a dedicated mobile application.

There is a huge missed opportunity by the sellers in not addressing this form of information gathering. According to June 2011 data from Google and the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA), only one-third of their surveyed advertisers had mobile optimized websites, and only 19% had dedicated mobile apps.

Based on this research, no matter your B2B industry, you need to begin thinking about mobile marketing to connect with your buyers. With all the information available online, including that shared through social media, buyers are more knowledgeable than ever before. This means they don’t contact your B2B company until they are further along in the buying process, or further down the funnel. If they cannot find information about your solutions in the format that is most convenient to them, they will look at your competitors.

3 Steps to Getting Started with Mobile Marketing

1. View your B2B company website or blog on a variety of mobile devices.

2. Check your website analytics to determine the current amount of mobile traffic.

3. Determine which website and blog content are most relevant to mobile users. Do this using web analytics, customer interviews and a content inventory.

What are you doing to address the growing number of B2B mobile visitors to your website?