LinkedIn Edges Facebook as B2B Marketers’ Most Important Social Platform

May 19, 2014

This article is included in these additional categories:

B2B | Digital | Social Media

SocialMediaExaminer-Most-Important-Social-Channel-B2B-v-B2C-May2014Facebook is easily the most important social platform for B2C marketers, but the same isn’t true for B2B marketers, according to Social Media Examiner’s latest annual “Social Media Marketing Industry Report” [download page]. In fact, not only does LinkedIn rival Facebook in overall adoption by B2B marketers, but a slightly larger proportion (33%) named it their single most important platform than did Facebook (31%). About two-thirds of B2B respondents are interested in learning more about LinkedIn.

B2B marketers’ tilt towards LinkedIn is to some extent a reflection of their audience’s preferences. According to a new MarketingCharts Debrief, “Reaching and Influencing B2B Buyers and Decision-Makers,” B2B buyers and decision-makers over-index the general population in their usage of LinkedIn more than any other major social network across the desktop web, the mobile web, and mobile applications. LinkedIn is also the social network that they’re most likely to use primarily for business purposes.

However, the report also shows that B2B buyers’ social preferences differ across devices, and that LinkedIn is by no means the most-accessed social platform. In fact, Twitter (among others) appears to be a popular option for B2B buyers and decision-makers, and B2B marketers appear to recognize this. Some 16% of B2B respondents to the Social Media Examiner study named Twitter their single most important social platform, compared to 10% of B2C marketers. Blogging is also more critical to B2B (11%) than B2C (6%) marketers.

In terms of overall adoption, Facebook (97%) leads among B2C marketers, followed by Twitter (81%), YouTube (60%) and LinkedIn (59%). Somewhat surprisingly, only about one-third are using Instagram, despite its rapid growth and popularity among the teen demographic.

For B2B marketers, Facebook (89% using) and LinkedIn (88%) are virtually equal in popularity, closely followed by Twitter (86%). Almost two-thirds are blogging (compared to half of B2C marketers) and about 6 in 10 use Google+ (versus 51% of B2C marketers).

The study also reveals some interesting results concerning planned usage among the various social channels:

  • Some 77% of B2B marketers plan to increase their use of LinkedIn, versus 54% of B2C marketers;
  • B2B marketers are also more likely to be planning to increase their blogging activity (74% vs. 63%);
  • Two-thirds of marketers overall plan to increase their YouTube activity, the first time since 2011 that it hasn’t been the number one platform for planned activity;
  • Some 7% of marketers plan to decrease their use of Facebook, though 64% will increase their efforts;
  • About 6 in 10 marketers (66% B2B; 58% B2C) will increase their Google+ activities, up from 53% last year;
  • Roughly 4 in 10 marketers plan to up their usage of Instagram, though 45% won’t use it at all;
  • Some 85% of marketers have no plans to use Snapchat.

Finally, the platform that most marketers want to learn more about is Google+ (65%).

About the Data: The results are based on a survey of 2,887 marketers fielded in January 2014.

The largest group that took the survey work for small businesses of 2-10 employees (34%), followed by the self- employed (19%). Twenty-one percent of people taking the survey work for businesses with 100 or more employees.

More than half (59%) of survey participants focus primarily on attracting consumers (B2C) and the other 41% primarily target businesses (B2B). Most survey participants (71%) were between the ages of 30 and 59. Females edged out males, representing 62% of all participants.

Most participants (60%) were based in the United States, followed by United Kingdom (8%), Canada (7%) and Australia (5%).

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