25 B2B Social Media Statistics About Platform Usage

b2b-statistics-25The latest social media industry report from Social Media Examiner is loaded with statistics about social media usage broken down all different ways. Since 39% of the respondents of the survey were B2B companies, many of the statistics are further broken down by B2B versus B2C. Since many of us use these kinds of statistics as benchmarks, I pulled out all the B2B specific stats and grouped them by platform to make it easy to find what you are looking for.

Do these stats reflect your usage of these platforms? Share your thoughts on Twitter with #b2bstats or in the comments below. You can also tweet any of the stats with the link after each one.









Photo credit: Flickr

Two Examples of Stellar B2B Facebook Pages

Facebook is a huge topic of interest to B2B marketers, so we wanted to share two examples of stellar B2B Facebook Pages, as a follow-up to How to Build a Great B2B Community on Facebook. That post was the first part of a MarketingProfs B2B Forum presentation and here are the case studies from the second part.

Examples of Interaction on Facebook

Corey O’Loughlin is a community manager for MarketingProfs. She shared the interaction and impact of their Facebook initiatives (go ahead and like them if you haven’t already!).

At a high level, Corey outlined the following goals for their Facebook initiatives:

  • Map goals – MarketingProfs does engage in sales via Facebook but had examples for effective integration throughout the presentation
  • Create content
  • Get feedback
  • Drive membership
  • Show personality

Corey shared a series of examples from the MarketingProfs Facebook page, walking the audience from Facebook update through impact in overall content marketing initiative.

Example: 15 Marketing Buzzwords to Stop Using
A question, discussion, and response from this update, poking fun at marketing buzzwords turned into a Slideshare presentation, blog post, and follow up series.

The presentation hit the hot spot on Slideshare three different times and could be traced back to 500 new members.

Example: 8 Misconceptions About a Remote Workforce
Newsjacking Yahoo’s announcement eliminating their remote workforce, MarketingProfs (who’s workforce is completely remote) used a similar strategy, leveraging the actively participated in Facebook discussion to generate a presentation, which now has over 80,000 views on Slideshare.

A few other ideas to consider:

  • Fill-in-the-blanks are great for developing discussion
  • Negative updates tend to do better than positive ones, but use them judiciously
  • Updates can be great for getting feedback for challenges or issues (Corey cited an example of understanding their lack of pickup on mobile marketing events even though broader interests seemed so high)
  • Doodles and images work and MarketingProfs is lucky to have such a talented artist on their team

From a sales perspective, Corey showed an example of a creative brand-based selling action / promotion. The key is to be creative in communication and execution. The end result was that even though the update itself had very little engagement, they still sold five passes to this event.

Content Makes Your Boring B2B Business Less Boring

Kristen Curtiss is the social media specialist who takes on the daily challenge of making sure Constant Contact customers stay engaged with the business through social media. Believe it or not, email is not very exciting without a bit of valuable content to keep things moving.

High level results of Constant Contact’s Facebook initiatives:

  • Over 91,000 Facebook Likes
  • 59,000+ fans (likes) gained in a two year period
  • 13% of fans have connected (interacted) with the page

Constant Contact uses a mixture of posts and updates to develop reach and engagement. Some of their best practices include:

  • Custom images work – they started by just using photos but found that adding “thought bubbles” and other customizations worked better for engagement
  • Remember marketing objective – Constant Contact consistently queries their audience to find out what they are most concerned with
  • Text only posts tend to get more reach from fans; even more so than images. Constant Contact uses a 50/50 mix of image and text updates to keep things balanced
  • They only post links to the site once a week because they get the least engagement (as opposed to images and text)
  • Constant Contact uses Facebook chats. They created a custom image that points to a chat on Facebook, which in turn helps develop customer understanding
  • Customer feedback is very important – Facebook is an important tool for them to message customers about issues / service and feedback on new functionality and development
  • Kristen recommends running social campaigns via tabs on Facebook and make certain to cross pollinate efforts (for example, their Facebook initiatives are embedded through other marketing channels like email distribution)

Lastly and most importantly, HAVE FUN! Remember that the key to getting good engagement rates is to keep things lively and conversational.

How to Build a Great B2B Community on Facebook

b2b-facebookWe know you (yes, you B2B marketer) are skeptical. The social network of choice for many B2B marketers is LinkedIn. Even though Facebook is the largest social network by far (and one of the most trafficked websites overall), B2B marketers remain skeptical of Facebook’s viability for marketing impact.

Mike Lewis, Chief Marketing Officer of Peoplefluent kicked things off his session at MarketingProfs B2B Forum with a few important statistics courtesy of a recent Hubspot report about Facebook:

  • 750 million monthly visitors
  • 51% more likely to make a purchase after they “liked” a brand on Facebook
  • 41% of B2Bs surveyed indicated they have acquired customers through Facebook

Here are three examples of B2B Facebook pages worth reviewing:

Mike also showed a business page he worked on – Awareness Social Media Best Practices – and the key is / was content and communication (and literally, “best practices”). The page went from 0 – 10k likes in 2011 and more importantly the organization could track 22% of leads back to a first interaction on this Facebook page.

What makes these examples outstanding?

  • Audience engagement
  • Compelling and relevant conversations
  • Encouraging the share
  • No selling (direct selling at least)

6 Keys to effective B2B Facebook page development:

  • Paying Attention
  • Interaction
  • Content
  • Presence
  • Management
  • Measurement

On paying attention: listen to people and their actions and behaviors. This is the heart of a Facebook strategy but more importantly (taking a phrase from Chris Brogan – paraphrasing) ”It’s not what you say, it’s about what you hear.”

  • Why are you listening?
  • Where are you going to listen?
  • What are you going to pay attention to?

Silo your attention based on brand, keywords, buying signals, etc. Understand the market landscape, brand, competition, customers, influencers, buying intent phrases (situational, problems, etc), and of course, what’s happening on the page itself.

If attention is the yin, interaction is the yang. Mike outlined how to understand your extended audience, since your direct competition is not necessarily your competition on Facebook. You’re also competing with other brands, a person’s friends, family, network, etc.

At a high level, here is your extended audience and the basis for how to communicate with them:

  • Broad Extended Audience – share photos and videos
  • Passive – ask questions
  • Moderate – consistency is key
  • Active – make them champions
  • Influential – guest post opportunities

Considerations for improving and developing presence:

  • Use milestones
  • Star and highlight important information
  • Connect other channels
  • Use custom tabs within your Facebook page
  • Maintain consistent branding across Facebook page

All in all great examples and ideas that hopefully can sway a skeptical B2B market audience to do more with Facebook.

What B2B Marketers Need to Know About Facebook News Feed Changes

Facebook provided new insight into their news feed algorithm, as well as announced a subtle change to its functionality. This is critical information for B2B marketers who use Facebook to connect with customers and prospects.

According to a recent study by Forrester, 39% of B2B decision makers use Facebook for business purposes. They participated in the following activities on the platform:

  • 71% connected with people they knew
  • 57% liked a brand or vendor on Facebook
  • 51% clicked on an ad or sponsored post
  • 51% posted on a brand or vendor’s page

If your customers and potential customers are on Facebook, as many are, they are participating in the activities that will drive your posts into their news feed.

Facebook estimates that the average users’ feed could contain up to 1500 items every time the news feed loads. The algorithm selects about 20% of those potential items to show in any individual’s feed.

The following signals influence what appears in a person’s feed:

  • How often that person interacts with the friend, Page, or public figure
  • The number of likes, shares and comments a post receives in general and from that person’s friends
  • How much that person has interacted with this type of post in the past
  • Whether or not that person and other people across Facebook are hiding or reporting a given post

The recent change announced to the news feed algorithm involves older posts that were not seen. “Now organic stories that people did not scroll down far enough to see can reappear near the top of News Feed if the stories are still getting lots of likes and comments.” This means that popular posts missed by people who normally see your posts will pop to the top of their news feed. In a small test Facebook found an 8% increase in likes, comments and shares on these posts.

Marketing Takeaways

  1. Grow your Facebook fan base by reminding customers and prospects of your Facebook presence on all communications. And don’t just say you are on Facebook, but include the address.
  2. Share a mix of engaging posts to connect with fans, as well as posts that drive traffic back to your blog or website. Gratuitous posts about kittens and puppies should be used sparingly, unless you are a pet supply house.
  3. These changes do not affect advertising on Facebook, but you can consider promoting posts to increase the engagement around them to make sure they surface later.
  4. Measure your success from Facebook to make sure your goals are being met. Growing your fan base and increasing your reach are tactics that can lead to your business goals, like increasing leads or improving customer service.

What are the most successful tactics you have used on your B2B Facebook page? Did they drive engagement on the post or traffic and conversions back to your website?

Use Social Media Statistics to Find Your B2B Audience

B2B marketers often use statistics for their social media presentations. Whether these are educational decks for internal or external audiences, or slides to prove the need for an investment in social media, this is a very limited use for all the statistics that are available online. Why not use these stats to understand more about our target audiences and gain some insight into their online behaviors. The Pew Internet and American Life Project has conducted an ongoing series of surveys about social media adoption of US internet users. The latest version of the survey was just released, so let’s look at some other ways to use this survey.

We have a tendency to focus only on B2B related surveys, but a general audience survey can be helpful in providing guidance and discovering your audience on social media channels. To paraphrase a line from the funny Tim Washer, all B2B prospects and customers are people, so their general internet usage is something to consider.

Let’s look at some of the survey results with a bit of thought around each stat and how it applies to a B2B audience.

67% of US Internet users use social networking sites

That’s two-thirds of all internet users, so when someone says that your prospects and customers are not on social networks, they are wrong. They probably are. This doesn’t necessarily mean they are looking for business-related information on social networks, but if you can connect with them and provide value (through content), you can build and nurture these relationships.

71% of women surveyed use social networking sites

If your target personas are women, or even skew more towards woman, take another look at how you are using social media to drive lead generation. Women are more likely to use social networking sites than men, so a better understanding of how they use it and the kinds of content that appeals to women will attract more prospects. I don’t mean make all your ebooks pink, but think about the differences in the way women and men solve problems, gather information and share information on social networks when developing your content strategy.

83% of 18-29 year olds use social networking

We all know that a greater percentage of younger people use social networking sites than older people, but the next age group of 30-49 is still at 77% usage. It slides all the way down to 32% when you get over 65. If your goal is to reach older executives on social networking sites, that will be a challenge. They are just not there yet. But as prospects are researching online for business solutions, social networking can play a part for anyone. If an intern or a junior employee is the one who seeks out information about your products, or fills out lead forms, what kinds of things are they searching for? These would be less technical results than what an engineer would look for.

16% of US Internet users use Twitter

With the overemphasis on Twitter in marketing and media, it is hard to accept that only 16% of US internet users are on Twitter. And the demographic data shows that is skews younger and more urban, so that does not necessarily provide much guidance for finding and reaching a B2B audience. Many B2B companies start with Twitter because they think it is easy to tweet, but they quickly run out of things to tweet without a plan. Twitter’s best use is to help amplify your own short and long-form content. It is also worthwhile to ask your customers if they are using Twitter, and what value they get from it. This can help guide you in connecting with prospects on the social network.

20% of US Internet users use LinkedIn

While the study mentioned above did not report LinkedIn usage, a previous Pew study did. And I can’t write a B2B article without talking about LinkedIn. This is a surprising result in certain business circles. It seems that every business person is on LinkedIn. Executives from all Fortune 500 companies are on LinkedIn. But with usage at only 20%, there are certainly B2B prospects are not on it. Use this information to dig more into your customers’ behavior to understand how to maximize your LinkedIn efforts.

67% of US Internet users use Facebook

The percentage of Facebook users matches the overall social networking usage numbers. While it is not an exact one for one match, you can interpret this to mean that your audience is on Facebook. It is possible to use Facebook grow your audience, build connections and drive leads, but it requires content creation, compelling images and sponsored posts to increase the reach of those posts. It is work, and it takes times, but you can get results from Facebook.

How else would you look at these statistics to find your B2B audience on social media sites?

Photo credit: Flickr

Facebook and Pinterest Lead Top B2B Social Media Posts in 2012

It is halfway through 2012 and it is always interesting to see what B2B social media posts generated the most interest from our readers. This list was compiled based on page views in Google Analytics.

It is no real surprise that the top posts relate to Facebook’s Timeline, current statistics, Pinterest, LinkedIn, generating leads and measurement. These are things that are most on B2B marketers’ minds. It is also notable that 9 of the 10 posts feature a number in the headline. In both of these cases, content and numbered headlines, this may be more about what we write about and how we structure posts, than about popularity of certain kinds of posts.

If you missed any of these posts, this is a great chance to read them and share them. Are there any other posts that resonated with you that would be in your top ten? Let us know in the comments below.

1. 10 of the Best B2B Facebook Timeline Cover Photos

2. 12 Revealing Stats About B2B Social Media Marketing

3. 5 Ways B2B Companies Can Use Facebook Timeline

4. 4 Reasons For B2B Marketers To Explore Pinterest

5. 5 Ridiculous B2B Social Media Marketing Myths

6. 4 Ways to Use Storytelling for B2B Social Media

7. 5 Ways to Generate Leads from a LinkedIn B2B Company Page

8. 12 Compelling B2B Social Media Slideshare Presentations

9. Generate More Leads with B2B Social Media [Infographic]

10. 5 Ways to Measure Results of B2B Social Media

Photo: Flickr

Another Facebook Photo Change for B2B Companies

Just when you thought you were settled in with the Facebook Page for your B2B company comes another change. If Timeline wasn’t enough, now Facebook has changed the size and location of the profile photo to match the size and location of personal profile photos. Hmm, how did they miss this a couple months ago when they launched the Timeline for Business Pages. If the point was to make the Business Pages look like personal profiles and create a business timeline, I am curious why it was designed based on a different spec.

No need to ponder the imponderable, and it’s time to resize that logo or photo because this takes effect on April 26. The new size is 160 pixels by 160 pixels and the new location is 23 pixels from the left and 210 pixels from the top. Facebook did not announce this change very broadly, but it was included in the weekly activity email sent to Page admins. In looking for any kind of official notice, I found this post on Reface.me that included the below graphic showing the difference in size and location.

For many B2B companies this change will be nothing more than an annoyance in resizing one small image, as seen in these best B2B Timeline Cover Photos. But for the handful of companies that created really compelling images that combined the two elements will find more work for themselves than expected. This is exactly the problem that marketers face when they rely too much on outside platforms like Facebook, rather than platforms they control, like a company blog. ArcMail Technology will have to revise their cover photo shown below so it will re-align with the larger logo.

Are you prepared to make these changes to your images, and will this sudden change cause you to simplify your Facebook design or take this opportunity to integrate the smaller image into the larger one?

3 Unique Ideas from SXSW B2B Social Media Panel

At this year’s SXSW, one of the strongest B2B social media sessions was the panel “Social Media in the Underground World of B2B.” The panel provided eye-opening insight and touched on some unexpected topics, making it an invaluable learning session for B2B marketers.

SXSW B2B Social Media PanelThe presenters included Duane Schulz from Xerox Corporation (@duaneschulz), Jeanette Gibson from Cisco Systems (@JeanetteG), Shanee Ben-Zur from NVIDIA (@sbenzur), Susan Emerick (@sfemerick) from IBM and Melissa Chanslor from Text 100 (@Chanslor).

The panel opened by covering social strategy and engagement. The panelists agreed that the best place to start B2B social media marketing is where your audience is. Identify areas where key decision makers spend their time. Shape your engagement strategy around where those prospects are. Use listening tools, participate in the conversation, and measure effectiveness.

Unique Idea #1: Use Facebook and OpenID for B2B Website Login
Show the connection from social to sales. Cisco Systems is using Facebook and OpenID for login on their website. It’s led to a 40% reduction in cost and has increased event registration by 20%.

When it comes to participation, find the best social citizens within your organization to enact the social strategy. Enable them to be true representatives of the brand. By recruiting the right subject experts internally, brands can bring value to the conversation. And no one knows your brand better than your employees, so enable them and make sure they reflect your brand properly.

IBM stresses the importance of their people understanding that they represent the brand, and if they do it well, customers will become brand ambassadors too.

Adoption among employees is key. Engaged employees equals engaged customers. So how do you get employees to adopt social media?  Expose them to it.

Unique Idea #2: Conversation Starters
NVIDIA and Cisco System have large LCD screens that display real-time Twitter streams and other social conversations in high traffic areas of their office (meeting areas, near bathrooms, etc.). Employees routinely stop to see what is being mentioned about their brand online. This tactic leads to employee engagement.

When asked about B2B social media challenges, the panelists pointed to ROI and internal resources being the biggest obstacles.

On the topic of ROI, panelists noted that social media ROI can’t always be measured. They recommended creating benchmarks and showing growth over time.  Show that you changed a trend.

Shanee Ben-Zur from NVIDIA provided additional insight: “Your business objectives should guide you to what you should measure. Tie social back to the original objective and use that as the measurement standard.”

Dwayne Schulz said that Xerox is not worrying about ROI for the next 2 years.  Their goal is to create a literate community within their organization first.

Unique Idea #3: Gamification
Many B2B marketers may feel that gamification is only for consumer marketing, but rewarding people for participation and incentivizing behavior are tactics B2B marketers can employ too.  Integrate game mechanics into an interaction to emotionally engage and empower users.

IBM and Cisco are using gamification now. “IBM is using gamification internally to build leaders through rewards and recognition” mentioned Susan Emerick.  And Jeanette Gibson from Cisco Systems mentioned how they were using it on their blog.  “You can get badges for sign up, reading, commenting, sharing, etc.”

Although the panel covered several other notable points, these topics seemed to generate the most interest from the session attendees.  And with good reason- all are unique concepts that help these notable brands achieve success with their B2B social media marketing.

Are you using any of these unique B2B social media ideas?  Share your thoughts, stories and feedback in the comments.

5 Ways B2B Companies Can Use Facebook Timeline

Facebook rolled out its new timeline for B2B Business Pages, so these Pages now have a similar look to personal profiles where content is organized and viewable by date. It is becoming a more visual platform and they continue to promote the idea that photos and videos create stronger connections with customers, prospects, fans and likers. B2B companies who want to succeed on Facebook must now develop and share content that doesn’t just provide value, but that catches peoples’ eyes. A recent study has already shown that many large brands don’t get that much fan engagement on Facebook, so this can be even more challenging for many B2B companies.

Page administrators have the next 30 days to get their timeline plans in place before all Pages switch to this new format. Very few B2B companies have made this switch so far, but we will look at some of the new features and how to best use them by looking at a few examples of companies who have made the change.

1. Create a Stunning Cover Photo

The cover photo is huge opportunity to create an impression about your B2B company. If you don’t currently have a strong brand representation that you can use in this spot, use a cool photo that shows something about your company. This wide photo at the top of the page is 851 pixels wide and 315 pixels tall. You can use an existing photo from your page, as long as it is 399 pixels wide, and it will get stretched to the proper size. Don’t do this. It will not make a good impression on your page visitors. This can be an opportunity to meet with a graphic designer and get some ideas of the kinds of things you can put here.

2. Link to Your New Landing Page

This is the most important part of this post. If you currently have a series of tabs and a welcome page, many people are saying these are going away. Sort of. Facebook had already changed its requirements so that tabs had to be hosted elsewhere and displayed on the Page as apps. This is a good thing. With the change to timeline, these no longer appear on the left hand side. They appear underneath the cover photo with four showing all the time, and that can expand with a click to see all 12 apps associated with a Page. The tabs themselves can now be expanded from 520 pixels wide to 810 pixels. Just like always, each one of these apps has a unique URL. This means you can direct people to any particular one. If you want to use a landing page, maybe even one with a lead form, you still can. But this means that you no longer direct people just to facebook.com/companypage, but you use the URL directly to the app. This is easy to do from your website by linking a Facebook icon to this, but harder to do in print. A custom short URL could be used, though.

3. Pin a Post to the Top

B2B companies can now feature a post so it is always at the top left position whenever anyone visits the page. Click the “pencil” icon in the upper right corner of the post to pin it. The post will appear with a small bookmark to show that it is a pinned post. It will only remain there for 7 days, then it will return to its proper place in the timeline. Use this for campaigns, timely content or just things that you want to make sure everyone will see. But remember, most people still will see your content in their newsfeed, not on your Page, so pinning a post is not a substitute for continuing to publish valuable and interesting content. Pin your latest ebook to the top, but keep sharing blog posts and photos on your Page.

4. Star a Post To Highlight It

The normal timeline has a two column layout, but you can star a post to highlight it, and it will expand to the full widescreen width of the Page. Click the star in the upper right of the post to do this. While you can certainly do this with a written post, it makes more sense to create a graphic or image similar to your cover photo to highlight B2B company events or activities. Please don’t use this highlight your latest press release. None of your Facebook fans care about that kind of content. You have a huge opportunity to be creative with your Facebook content.

5. Add Company Milestones

What’s the name of the new Page? That’s right. It’s called a timeline. Not only does this mean posts are more connected to the date of posting, but you can add posts to any date you want. This creates a visual history of your B2B company on your Facebook Page. Make sure you add a founding date, and you can even add an image. Again, think about how you want to present the history of your company in a creative way. You are building connections with your fans, so keep it interesting.

For more information about the new timeline page features go to this Facebook help page. As you see more B2B Pages updating to the new timeline layout, add them in the comments below.

5 B2B Social Media Tactics Inspired by Facebook’s IPO

Now that Facebook has officially filed for their initial public offering, what does that mean for B2B marketers? Many IPOs bring a needed infusion of cash to companies, but according to their submitted documents, Facebook already has profits to the tune of $1 billion. 85% of their revenue comes from advertising. That means they encourage users to share information about themselves and Facebook uses the data to target users with advertising. Here are some ways you can better leverage the platform to reach your B2B prospects and customers now that Facebook will have to answer to public shareholders.

1. Explore Facebook Advertising

Normally I would work my way towards advertising as the last item in the list, but I am starting with it because it is so important to Facebook’s success. There are a number of ways you can use advertising on Facebook, but here are two that have been shown to be most successful. Sponsored Stories target the friends of your fans to grow your fan base. You can also target your own fans with updates to increase Page engagement. The Facebook ad platform lets you target by demographics and keywords, as well as set your budget so you can begin testing this to reach your B2B target audience.

2. Monitor Facebook Advertising Changes

Look for Facebook to roll out more targeted and creative ways to reach people on the platform. They have expanded their ads to the point that they are engaging and active, for example people can like a page right from an ad. Since this is so core to their business, look for a new, non-disruptive type of advertising that feels even more like regular Facebook updates. Facebook users may balk at new ideas, but if Facebook can come up with a way to show targeted, non-ad like content (as they are likely working on), advertisers would pay for that. They could be a pricey option for many B2B companies, but if you can keep up with all their tests on the advertising category of Inside Facebook then you can evaluate options for your company.

3. Get Ready for the Timeline

If you haven’t yet heard of the Facebook Timeline, it is the new way personal profiles are shown on Facebook and they are coming to Business Pages soon. If you don’t have the timeline yet on your personal profile yet, click the link above to get it. Not only is the layout more visual, but there is a great branding opportunity with the large cover image at the top of your page. Think how you want to portray your B2B company with a large horizontal image. Don’t assume the staff photo from the company holiday card is the best thing you’ve got. Get creative. But don’t make a Photoshop montage of your products either. The other big change about a timeline is that you can post items to past dates. This is a chance to build a company timeline with historic photos as part of your Facebook Page. This can give some depth to your presence on the social network.

4. Post More Often

With all the changes on Facebook, it is more imperative to post content more often than before, at least a few times per day. This means sharing blog posts from your company and other sources, posting photos and videos, asking engaging questions and showing the fun or human side of your B2B company. There is so much noise on Facebook, as well as an algorithm that only shows people content that Facebook thinks they are interested in, that you need to get people to engage with your content so Facebook will show it to them. There is a balance here. Look at the Facebook Pages of B2B companies that you admire for examples.

5. Drive Facebook Likes from Other Sources

One of the ways to ensure that you have an active Facebook for your B2B company is to make sure you remind people that it is there and they should like it. If you are still printing catalogs, include your Facebook Page address. Add it to email signatures. Display it at your tradeshows. Make sure employees know the kinds of things you share on the Page so they can tell customers and prospects. Start with your own network of employees, customers and partners, and grow the Page from there.

What have you been doing on your B2B Facebook Page and what do anticipate changing in the future?