Stats and studies help us make better decisions.
Over time it’s important to develop what is commonly referred to as gut instinct.
I believe in trusting our guts, but I also believe in always seeking more information. I like looking at information available to see if I should change my thoughts on a topic or if the previous information remains sound.
So with that in mind I like to look at the important stats and studies on topics from time to time.
Here are some of the important stats for B2Bs when it comes to social media strategy.
I’ll provide my insight, but I know you’ll take that and perhaps add your own interpretations.
1. 33% Of Users Follow Brands (Edison Research)
One of the challenges with social media marketing is finding ways to connect with people. It seems that people connect with people much more than they connect with brands.
I think there are two important lessons from this stat.
One, it might be better for your brand to instead focus on hiring people that fit your culture and that represent your brand well. Let them use social media on their own instead of having them manage your brand’s profile.
Two, I think it can work well to have a brand profile, but the obvious point is that the profile needs to provide content that people are interested in. The brands with the biggest followings on social media provide value like:
- Breaking News
- News Analysis
- Answers To Common Questions (Education)
Find the value you can provide for your audience and a brand profile can work.
2. 22% Of Users Check Social Media Several Times Per Day (Edison Research)
There aren’t many things that people do several times each day. Eat, check email, maybe talk on the phone? 23% of Facebook users check their account 5+ times per day. People have a dire thirst for information and social media has made it possible to access nearly endless amounts of various information.
Social media has become something some people do regularly throughout the day. The world is pretty fragmented today as far as people’s attention. When you know that people will be doing something several times per day it’s an opportunity to connect, build relationships and win business.
Social media presents a growing opportunity to connect with people in a place they spend many minutes or even hours of their day.
3. 71% Of Online Adults Use Facebook (Pew)
As of today:
- 71% of online adults use Facebook
- 23% of online adults use Twitter
- 26% use Instagram
- 28% use Pinterest
- 28% use LinkedIn
It’s impressive when new social networks come along and grow quickly. That’s happened recently with Instagram and Pinterest. But if you want to reach the most people with your B2B then Facebook is the place to be.
However, other channels may present a better opportunity to connect with a B2B target audience. The one that stands out the most would be LinkedIn. Even though only 28% of adults use LinkedIn, the channel presents a few great ways to connect with professionals that work at businesses including direct connection, groups and more.
4. 65% Of Adult Internet Users Age 50-64 Use Social Media (Pew)
If your target client is a business and your target contact at that business is in the 50-64 age group chances are that person is at least involved in social media to some degree.
It’s no longer just for the kids. Social media is something just about every person that uses the Internet is using in at least some degree.
If your target customer doesn’t use the Internet or hardly uses it at all they obviously don’t use social media, but if that person uses the Internet even a little the chances are good that they use social media.
And you can reach them on social channels.
5. 67% Of Adults That Use Social Media Use Social Media To Connect With Friends (Pew)
This is important, but often overlooked.
With our personal relationships, both with friends and family, it’s natural to use social media to connect. But when we get in a business setting it can become more about working toward a sale.
The strategy that seems to work would be taking the traditional salesperson/client relationship where it’s treated like a friendship and putting it on social media. Or using social media to enhance the relationship.
In the B2B world we often create friendship-like relationships or outright friendships with people at other companies, both vendors and clients. Social media can be used to enhance those friendships. Maybe you don’t become best friends, but you can stay in touch and make sure the relationship is strong.
6. 44% Of Women Social Media Users (And 56% Of Men) May Use Social Media To Connect Around A Shared Interest (Pew)
This is another important reason people use social media. The stat above combines both the major and minor reason people use social media.
Other than connecting with friends and family, people use social media to connect with new people around shared interests. Even back to the beginning of the Internet we’ve had forums and chat rooms. Forums are still very popular where people discuss, often daily, what’s going on with their shared interest.
For B2Bs, connecting with a target audience around a shared Interest can make business sense. However, it’s important to remember that the interest probably isn’t about what you’re selling unless you’ve created your own social network.
I liken this to people connecting on a golf course where golf is the interest and occasionally the connections lead to business discussions.
7. 43% Of B2Bs Have Acquired A Customer Via Facebook (HubSpot)
This is less than B2C, but the number is significant. These are B2Bs that have acquired a customer they can directly attribute to social media. The way I see it, social media is more likely to be the place where a B2B salesperson meets a potential client or the place where a previous connection/introduction can be furthered.
But does social media cause the sale?
The salesperson still does the work to connect with leads whether in person or on social media, but the social channels can offer the opportunity to both meet and connect further with those leads.
8. 91% Of Smartphone Owners Age 18-29 Use Social Media (Pew)
A large number of B2B connections will fall into this category. Some kids go right from high school into the business world, but many go into the business world after college, which is right around age 22.
If you’re looking to connect with the up and comers in the business world then the odds are good you could do that on social media. Nearly 100% of them use social media on their smartphones.
Smartphones seem to have increased social media use. It’s a correlation more than causation, but it is very easy to use social media and to get into the social media habit when you have a smartphone.
9. 15% Of Americans Say They Have Limited Ways To Use The Internet Other Than Their Smartphone (Pew)
This is an emerging trend. I don’t think the laptop or desktop will be replaced in the very near-term especially in the business world. But many people are only using a smartphone to connect to the Internet. For many people, a big computer isn’t necessary. They can accomplish what they need to on their phone at a cost of a couple hundred dollars instead of a (usually) more expensive computer.
Again, it’s a small trend especially in the business world, but how long until business people only need a smartphone to do their job?
This could lead to more social media use. That means social media could become more important for B2Bs to connect with vendors and clients.
10. 44% Of Young Adults Have Consumed Educational Content On Their Smartphone (Pew)
Again, people are very curious about information. We want to learn about the world. We want to improve.
Who’s to say that B2Bs can’t create educational content?
We’re talking about 44% of people up to the age of 29 looking for educational content on their phones. More if you add in other devices. And we know that those people are on social media.
Creating educational content (blog posts, videos, ebooks, guides, etc.) is an opportunity to connect with potential clients.
11. 56% Of Smartphones Owners Use Their Smartphones At Least Occasionally To Learn About Community Events (Pew)
It’s not just B2B in a global sense that involves social media. If you’re a B2B company that works mostly in a local area you have an opportunity to earn followers and make valuable connections.
People in your area want to know about local and community events. You can be that source and build your reputation in that way using social media.
12. 198 Million People Use Ad Blockers (PageFair)
People don’t really like ads. That’s a lot of people that really don’t like ads. Many people simply put up with ads, but that’s nearly 200 million people around the world that took the time to install ad blockers on their browsers.
The number has been steadily increasing.
What does this mean for B2Bs, social media, etc.?
It means that creating content other than ads will be important in the future.
Ads might not work as well on social media. People want other content. I guess you could call it regular or organic content.
It’s usually more work, but in the long run it’s the best for forming connections and maybe you can reach more people with your regular content as more people block your ads.
13. Engagement Grew 108% Year-Over-Year On Instagram (eMarketer)
That’s pretty crazy. Twitter was 32% and Facebook was 27% in the same period.
The unique thing about Instagram is that people check it often. The content is all the same at least in format (photos, images). And people can feel quickly whether or not they like an item.
Instagram might seem like more of an opportunity for B2Cs, but I think B2Bs have a great opportunity. You can share more non-commercial content to connect with your target audience. It’s, again, a way to connect with people on that friendship level.
And if you’d like to try social media advertising, Instagram seems like a good bet. The ads appear to look very similar to the organic content on the channel.
14. 61% Of B2B Marketing Execs Say LinkedIn Is Effective In Pre-Sale Situations, 51% Post-Sale (eMarketer)
Both of these stats were tops for B2B marketing executives. We’ve shared a lot of information about Facebook, Twitter and Instagram above, but LinkedIn remains the best bet if you’re looking to use social media to grow your B2B business.
15. 30% Of Small Businesses Decreased Spending On Social Media Outsourcing (eMarketer)
It’s challenging for small businesses to invest in social media both with money and time. It takes a consistent effort to use social media for a B2B business. And if you can’t do it yourself it’s necessary to outsource the efforts.
And it’s a long-term strategy. If you go in thinking you’ll have tons of followers and new clients in a few months you’re going to be disappointed.
But if you go in with the right expectations and a look at the long-term it can be an opportunity especially since others are bowing out already.
16. Social Media Use Declines (61% to 57%) For Small Businesses (eMarketer)
Building on the last item, small businesses are leaving social media. Actually, the biggest loss in the networks was Google+, but most networks except for Facebook and Instagram saw declines.
Not many small businesses are outsourcing social media management. It’s often more work than anticipated to maintain a social strategy for a small business. But those that see the value (see stats above) and invest now can be the winners in a few years down the road.