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Survey Reveals: Who Leads In Social Media, Business or Consumer Brands?

This debate of whether social media is best for consumer brands (B2C) or business brands (B2B) has been been ongoing for the last 2-3 years and Business.com has recently come out with a survey that might make many rethink their assumptions. Most of the current and emerging case studies discussed extensively on the web, online media and blogs revolve around B2C such as Zappos, Gary Vaynerchuk, Dell, Naked Pizza and others.

As Business.com states “If you’re working in B2B, perhaps this data will provide you with value. Or, at the very least, it will arm with you data necessary to convince, compel, and persuade those skeptical or uninspired colleagues, clients, and managers.”

So below are the results of the survey for Social Media: B2B vs. B2C from Business.com in 21 different categories

1. Maintained company-related profiles on social networks:

B2B: 81%
B2C: 67%

2. Participate in Twitter:

B2B: 75%
B2C: 49%

3. Host blog/s:

B2B: 74%
B2C: 55%

4. Monitor brand mentions:

B2B: 73%
B2C: 55%

5. Engage in discussions:

B2B: 66%
B2C: 43%

6. Participate in Q&A sites such as Yahoo Answers, LinkedIn, forums:

B2B: 59%
B2C: 44%

7. Upload content (social objects) to Social Networks:

B2B: 50%
B2C: 32%

8. Manage a community dedicated to customers or prospects:

B2B: 49%
B2C: 51%

9. Monitor/support user ratings and reviews:

B2B: 49%
B2C: 51%

10. Produce Webinars or podcasts:

B2B: 46%
B2C: 22%

11. Advertise on social networks:

B2B: 42%
B2C: 54%

12. Utilize social bookmarking sites such as delicious and digg:

B2B: 38%
B2C: 21%

13. Employee recruiting:

B2B: 36%
B2C: 27%

14. Facebook

B2B: 77%
B2C: 83%

15. Twitter

B2B: 73%
B2C: 45%

16. LinkedIn

B2B: 56%
B2C: 27%

17. YouTube

B2B: 43%
B2C: 30%

18. MySpace

B2B: 14%
B2C: 23%

19. FriendFeed

B2B: 9%
B2C: 2%

20. Plurk

B2B: 1%
B2C: 0%

21. Other

B2B: 4%
B2C: 8%

Results For The 21 Categories

B2B Leads in 15 categories

B2C Leads in only 6 categories

Some of the challenges have been, how does business use social media to grow their brand in the social media space and the last 2 years has seen the emergence of changes that have removed the barriers for brands to use social media, especially in Facebook with the addition of the “Facebook Page” for corporates.  Some of the walled gardens privacy in social media has been lowered in recent time, to enable Google and other search engines to crawl the site and enable brands to use the social media sites to improve their organic SEO and leverage their content distribution and brand presence. Some of these changes have included.

  • Facebook slowly revising their privacy settings to open up real-time search capabilities within the 350 million strong network
  • MySpace recently announcing the availability of a real-time API, businesses will have the ability, and the responsibility, to search for relevant conversations outside of Twitter and Google.
  • Twitter doing a deal to feed its real time search into both Bing and Google

Google search results, at least prior to the real-time search revolution, also proved valuable for mining and unearthing relevant content. 59% of B2B and 40% of B2C companies report using Google Alerts and 61% of B2C and 60% of B2B reported that they actively googled themselves.

With the rapid evolution of search, business monitoring will assuredly shift its focus from traditional to real-time. Just recently, Google announced both Social Search, the inclusion of content generated by your social graph in traditional search results, as well as real-time results from Twitter and other social networks. We already know that customers, regardless of industry, are actively taking to search engines to learn more about brands and products mentioned in their social stream.

This is your opportunity to establish authority and attention online, social media gives you the leverage to achieve that by providing literally hundreds of different channels to place your content onto and then use those multiple channels to promote and spread that content. Without it, it’s easy to vanish from the cycle of awareness and consideration. Out of sight, out of mind…

So is your company a B2B or B2C and what benefits have you found with implementing social media for your brand?

Jeffbullas's Blog


  • Those results are somewhat surprising in that B2B businesses appear to be participating in social media more than B2C companies.

    TelPay fits the profile perfectly, however we’re still surprised to see the results as they stand.

    Great Post!

  • Interesting data. Surprising, actually, in some of the categories. However, it clearly shows the adoption of SM is pervasive not just among consumers, but also businesses.

    While many businesses are using SM, many are still trying to figure out the ROI. In the C2C space, personal motivations are enough to warrant ROI, but companies will ultimately want a return. The key is to view SM as part of an overall strategy to engage with customers, and utilize the best approaches to maximize business. Today, too many companies are just taking a “shot-gun” approach.

  • Thanks for this interesting data – very useful

  • Very interesting figures, counter-intuitive in some cases. Relating to ROI I agree that there is somewhat of a “shotgun” approach as both B2C and B2B entities are still in the “exploration” phase. I believe ROI can be dramatic when establishing a clear link between the business strategy, its key performance indicators and the use of social media as a tool to improve performance. Thanks for sharing!

  • What are some specific examples of B2B on SM/social networks based on these results? I don’t know of any off the top of my head, so I’d be interested to see examples.

  • Really interesting figures. It probably comes down to the fact that so many businesses are out there soliciting, but not really paying attention to customers. B2C companies are definitely be talked about more by ‘real’ (non-business-related-users) than B2B.

    Would love to see examples. Especially since we’ve used social media for B2B and handle social media monitoring for large B2C clients.

  • What would make this even more compelling would be the stat on number of B2B and B2C companies in the US (or the world)? If there is an order of magnitude difference between the two categories, it will shed new light on the adoption rates mentioned here.

  • Jeff, as always great insights. I have clicked on the link to get the survey but it seems broken. Any chance you can post it again?

    I work in a B2C multinational company and Social Media is on stage right now. We are implementing Social Media strategy and engaging in consumer conversations. I believe it is still too early to evaluate the benefit of that as Social Media works in the brand engagement that gives fruits in the long term.

  • Femke

    Hi Jeff,
    I Would like to know when the survey from Business.com was done, however the link seems broken. Is there a way to fix it, or inform about the date of the survey. Has the survey been repeated recently? Or where can I find any recent comparable stats?