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.

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Photo credit: Flickr

Interview: How IBM Leads B2Bs in Instagram Engagement

b2b-instagram-ibm-deskAs a follow-up to our list of top B2B Instagram accounts, I reached out to Katie Keating, Social Content & Engagement Strategist at IBM, to learn more about how this globally integrated technology and consulting company approaches a visual platform like Instagram.

IBM ranked at the top of the list of B2B Instagram accounts because we prioritized engagement over number of followers. This put the IBM account way ahead of larger B2B companies who are well-known for their social media prowess, like GE, Cisco and Adobe. What is your approach to Instagram, and does it focus on engagement versus growing your following? And what are the metrics that determine your success?

For IBM, engagement is the metric we put the most weight on when we assess performance of our social content on Instagram. Ultimately, our goal is to create and curate content that is intriguing to our audiences, that maybe teaches them something simple but useful, and builds trust among our followers. It’s not about the quantity of our followers but the quality. We don’t want to speak into a void but to an engaged, interested audience, so listening and gathering feedback is a critical first step before we publish anything on our channels.

Are you using the IBM Instagram account to communicate with existing customers, partners and employees or are you looking to connect with prospects to drive new business?

We have a number of key audiences that we think are interested in what IBM’s doing, and who may not be aware of some of the incredible innovation happening at IBM. IBM is a global company so we try to showcase the company’s innovation around the world. Employee engagement is a key part of our strategy–we always say that IBM is primarily experienced by the world at large through our employees, so it’s important to us that they’re engaged and feel empowered to share their experiences.

In the time period we looked at, some of your top posts were employee-submitted photos showing #viewfrommydesk. Is user-generated content, or specifically employee-based content, a key part of your Instagram strategy, or was this just a good idea that happened to work?

The #ViewFromMyDesk photo series was done in partnership with the IBM global recruitment team. The goal was to showcase that IBM employees come from all over and work in various types of environments. We invited employees to share photos of the view from their desk–be it a traditional office setting, their home office, office on the road, and more. As a result, we received photos from locations all over the world like Slovenia, Russia, Brazil, Austria, Norway, Venezuela, Taiwan, India, and more. Instagram is a highly global platform and IBM is an international brand, so we thought Instagram would be a great place to host a visually-driven series like this.

IBM has a broad, global business serving multiple audience segments. How do you balance that with one Instagram account?

b2b-instagram-ibm-designWe see Instagram a place to share “moments” at IBM–what it’s like to work in our offices, behind the scenes in our labs, or the process behind innovations-in-progress. We want to take our audience on the journey with us. Our photos come from all over: user-generated content, photos that employees like me shoot themselves, photos of teams collaborating, and more. We’ve even had employees “take over” our account for a week at a time and show us what it’s like to work at IBM through their own photos and captions. It’s really important that anything we publish stays true to the platform–inspiring, visually engaging imagery that tells a story, while being true to IBM. We’re not trying to fit certain messages into a box or follow a strict calendar, but instead we’re in a constant mode of discovery, curation and creation.

How do the Instagram photos integrate with social media posts on other channels? How important is visual content to the overall social media strategy of IBM?

We find that Instagram photos also drive engagement across our other channels, so we cross-post. Visuals in general are absolutely critical to driving engagement on our social accounts. I think audiences now expect that visuals should and will be part of the experience.

You seem to be experimenting with more branded video on Instagram lately? How does this compare to Vine or YouTube?

Branded “micro-video” is something we’re definitely planning to do more of. It’s a great way to tell a story or create art out of the everyday, which is the sweet spot for platforms like Instagram and Vine.

And finally, what advice would you give to other B2B marketers who are looking to improve their engagement on Instagram?

First, spend time on Instagram. Really understand the community aspect of the platform and the caliber of the photography. Think about why your followers are spending time on Instagram. It’s an escape. It’s inspirational. It’s beautiful. Make sure that’s the type of content you’re curating and creating for your branded channel too. Use it as a place to show the real moments, to go behind the scenes, to give access and meaning to your brand. Don’t try to promote, sell, drive clicks (URLs aren’t hotlinked anyway). You will drive engagement and preference for your brand by being real and staying true to the platform.

The 10 Best B2B Instagram Profiles

Last week was a big week for Instagram as they announced that they have 300 million monthly active users. This makes the visual platform owned by Facebook, larger than Twitter. It is also growing at a faster rate than Twitter.

B2B companies need to learn how to tell their stories in a visual manner. There are many blog posts that merely list the largest B2B companies on Instagram, or a seemingly random selection of B2B companies on Instagram. But this post is different. These are the ten B2B companies with the highest engagement rate on Instagram. This means their followers (who could be a combination of customers, prospects, employees and partners) have liked and commented on their photos and videos.

Methodology: A B2B company needed at least 1000 followers to be considered for the list. I examined the last ten Instagram posts for likes and comments. The average number of the sum of likes and comments was divided by the number of followers to determine the engagement rate (expressed as a percentage). If you want to put these numbers in perspective, according to SimplyMeasured, the top retail brands have an average engagement rate of 4%. The top B2B companies below have a similar engagement rate.

Note that General Electric, the biggest B2B company on Instagram with 183,000 followers did not make the list because their engagement rate is only 0.78%. Companies need to not just focus on growing their follower counts, but they also need to make sure their content is resonating with their audience.

1. IBM

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Posts: 196
Followers: 9265
Engagement Rate: 4.04%

2. Mailchimp

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Posts: 242
Followers: 9560
Engagement Rate: 3.98%

3. Infusionsoft

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Posts: 576
Followers: 1499
Engagement Rate: 3.88%

4. Fedex

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Posts: 125
Followers: 11053
Engagement Rate: 3.49%

5. CBRE

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Posts: 490
Followers: 3290
Engagement Rate: 3.36%

6. Maersk Line

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Posts: 314
Followers: 29406
Engagement Rate: 2.78%

7. Oracle

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Posts: 190
Followers: 5424
Engagement Rate: 2.77%

8. Intel

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Posts: 496
Followers: 29874
Engagement Rate: 2.76%

9. Zendesk

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Posts: 388
Followers: 1231
Engagement Rate: 2.69%

10. Hootsuite

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Posts: 476
Followers: 6696
Engagement Rate: 2.65%

What Facebook’s Purchase of Instagram Means to B2B Marketers

Yesterday Facebook bought photo-sharing site Instagram for $1 billion, but you already know that as a B2B social media marketer. If you don’t, you really need to check your news sources and how you keep up with social media activity. I saw it online, in my social streams, and even heard about it on NPR. It was hard for everyone to ignore the billion with a B price tag for an app. If you want to learn more about the sale, search for it. Even today it is hard to avoid.

This acquisition is another huge signal that Facebook likes visual content and wants to reduce the friction around posting it. They have already told us that photos and videos are the most important types of content because they encourage the most engagement. This is all driven by Facebook’s EdgeRank algorithm, which shows your posts to people who have engaged with your previous posts. And don’t forget that Facebook’s business model is to sell ads, which makes page views and time on site important metrics.

Here are a few quick reminders about visual content for your B2B Facebook page, so you can connect with your customers and prospects on Facebook.

1. Use Instagram, but Upload Photos to Facebook Natively

Instagram is a fun photo app, and can be great for showing a behind the scenes view of your B2B company. Many users cite the social network as their favorite part of the app, or even the ability to easy share photos on multiple platforms. But if you are looking at photos as a means of greater engagement with your fans, rather let Instagram post the photos, you can upload it directly from your mobile phone. Instagram saves photos to your photo albums, and you can just grab it from your Facebook mobile app.

2. Regular Photos are Still Okay Too

Every photo does not need a filter and a retro border. If you have a content strategy that has you sharing photos of employees, events, customers, products and your community, nothing has changed about the relevance of these photos on your B2B Facebook page.

3. And that Other “I” Word, Inforgraphics

Photos are great, but if you find a good infographic, or you have the resources to produce them, share those on your Facebook. Ask a single compelling question about the information in the graphic to ensure a bit more engagement.

4. Use Images in Written Content

And since Facebook is become a more visual platform, make sure that everything you post to your Facebook page has an image associated with it. Even if you are pushing blog posts automatically to Facebook, a compelling image will help your fans stop on it in their newsfeed. It is too easy to scroll by a post without an image.

What are you doing to make your B2B Facebook page more visual?