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B2B CEOs Cautious About, But Warming To, Social Media Marketing

BtoB Magazine reports that business-to-business (b2b) marketers are increasingly leveraging social media, with the newly ad-friendly LinkedIn ahead by a length.

The magazine reveals in its report "B2B Social Media Marketing: A Surge In Adoption" that when b2b marketers were asked to choose the one most important method that they use for their social outreach, LinkedIn was the clear leader at 30%, followed by Facebook (20%), blogging (19%), Twitter (16%) and YouTube (8%). Google+, a comparative newcomer at just one year old (and despite considerable press), ranks at just 1%. It appears that Google+ with its “hangouts” is achieving more success with business-to-consumer (B2C) brands, like Coca Cola.

“It's interesting that Twitter—used by b-to-b marketers almost as thoroughly as they use LinkedIn and Facebook when all social channels are considered—falls well below those two as the single most favorite social media channel,” finds the report.

The obstacles to adopting social media?
1.    Lack of resources, cited by 70% of respondents
2.    Poorly defined success metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs), at 57%
3.    Lack of knowledge about social media at 44%
4.    Management resistance, cited by 22%, and likely stemming from the first three obstacles.
Interestingly, IBM in its just-released “2012 Global CEO Study” found that management recognizes their own reticence about social networking. IBM surveyed 1,600 CEOs worldwide to discover that only 16% of them use social business platforms to connect with partners and customers, but expect that number to spike to 57% within three to five years. “To forge closer connections with customers, partners and a new generation of employees in the future, CEOs will shift their focus from using e-mail and the phone as primary communication vehicles to using social networks as a new path for direct engagement,” found IBM. And while social media is the least utilized of all customer interaction methods today, it stands to become the second-leading organizational engagement method within the next five years, a close second to face-to-face interactions.

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