Top 15 Social Media Channels Important For B2B Marketing [Survey]

Social Media Marketing is often thought of as being mainly suited for B2C (Business To Consumer) marketing.Forrester Social Media Marketing B2B Buying Survey

So finding a survey that takes a closer look into the role of social media in communicating with business buyers in a B2B (Business to Business) marketing environment and its role in their buying processes provides some food for thought.

This sort of information is valuable in determining how companies that sell technology products and services will engage, communicate and market to businesses. Forrester’s determination from this survey, is that  technology buying is a highly considered, collaborative process, one ideally suited for social interactions, so use of social media in this environment is important.

Forrester surveyed 1,217 technology decision makers including CEO’s in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, France, and Germany from SMB (Small and Medium Business)and enterprise companies with more than 100 employees and asked them

During the next 12 months which of the following emerging information sources will you use more to inform and validate your purchase decisions?

These are the 15 social media channels in order of  importance as indicated by the survey.

Social Media Channels Percentage

Forums

60%
Virtual Trade Shows

32%

Ratings & Reviews (Digg, Delicious etc)

29%
Wikis

25%

Private Online Community Sites

23%

Open Social Networks eg LinkedIn and Facebook

22%

Interactive or 3D Demonstrations

22%

Podcasts (Downloadable Media, Audio & Video)

19%

Blogs

18%

Online Advertising

17%

Widgets (such as iGoogle)

9%

Online Video

9%

Mashups such as Zillow,Google Maps etc

8%

MicroBlogs such as Twitter

5%

Virtual Worlds such as Second Life

5%

This survey highlights the importance of figuring out which channels and sources buyers prefer when they look for information or want to validate a purchase decision.

Takeaways that I found insightful from this survey:

  • Forums are nearly twice as likely to be used in the buying decision
  • Virtual Trade shows have become more important  due to current depressed economic conditions
  • Twitter (microblogging) will still rank near the bottom of the list because consumer themes and pop culture dominate this medium
  • Technical buyers prefer collaborating on wikis
  • IT architects and infrastructure folks rely more on blogs
  • Online ads catch the business buyer’s eye. This finding underlines the importance of integrating both traditional and online media into social media plans to not only reach potential buyers but to also guide them back to online destinations and offers placed in more conventional media.
  • B2B marketers should be identifying key buyer segments (or personas) and research how customers accomplish their purchase decision-making and business buying goals, keeping in mind which social media channels the different vertical markets and persona’s prefer to hang out in.

So how are you using social media to communicate, engage and market to B2B buyers?

Comments

  • http://www.drakemusic.info Drake

    Thanks for this article I have been looking for more infomration on B2B social media and this is just what I was looking for. I am suprised that Forums are the biggest driver for B2B marketing and by such a high margin. I have subscribed to your blog and will await more interesting articles thanks.

  • http://www.linkedin.com/in/jfavreau jamiefavreau

    This is a great list.

    I tend to believe Linked IN is great for B2B solutions.

  • http://www.ericrier.com/ Eric

    Great article. Some of this data is overlooked far too often. Bottom line : if you want to sell on the internet, make sure you have a forum!

  • http://www.pinkhamedia.com Edia Pinkham

    Thanks, valuable info

  • http://citizentools.netalyst.com Christoph Berendes

    Useful info for this b2b noob. A tip in return: use [title] tags for your post. It’ll make it easier to bookmark this in Delicious, and improve the look in Google search results…

  • http://heligonix.com Steve Visio

    Blogging is a good tool for answering questions relative to b2b services your company offers. A way to allow people to connect with your team and evaluating your offerings.

  • http://www.tbsusa.com Benita Tyler

    Great job, Jeff. This post helped me to have a better perspective of the rankings for social media channels in B2B purchasing. I was really surprised to see that blogs came in at only 18%.

  • http://www.hightechmg.com Jens

    Hi Jeff, thanks for that post. Forrester should also asked for the relevance of sites like slideshare.com. Especially in B2B, this has been become an important resource to support the procurement process of technology buyers.

  • Michael

    We were surprised to see Twitter as such a low percentage on the board?

  • http://netvani.com Anne Patrick

    Hi Jeff, you really had great posts. This one also help me a lot in finding useful social media channels. Since I found your site, I had good site statistics in terms of number of visitors and search results. Your ideas and knowledge are all effective as well as those shared links and tools. Thanks a lot.

    • jeffbullas

      Thanks for your kind comment Anne and I am so glad that you are getting great results and congratulations to you for acting on the tips Cheers

  • http://dcmobiletext.com/ text message marketing

    Business blogging provides a way to showcase news and products, demonstrate your knowledge as a thought leader, and provide information that is valuable in your industry. Great content will pull visitors to your site, where you have the opportunity to develop trust and loyal customers.