One in four (24%) decision makers say Facebook is their preferred social channel of choice when seeking information on a purchasing decision, ranking it ahead of Twitter and LinkedIn, according to a new study.
The Hotwire study entitled Changing Face of influence discovers where senior decision makers look for information, with 24% of decision makers looking to Facebook over other social media channels when making a purchasing decision.
However even though they look to Facebook as a source of information, nearly a third (30%) of marketers do not plan to use Facebook in their own B2B marketing strategies.
The key other findings of the report include:
· 41% of decision makers say the single biggest change vendors can make is by sharing more external opinion as part of their overall marketing strategy – 60% of UK and US decision makers look to analysts as a primary source of information.
· Marketing decision makers are more likely to engage with newer outlets which have a digital only focus – Business Insider and Huffington Post are the two most widely read publications amongst marketers and Business Insider was the most consulted publication throughout the buying process.
· Nearly half of decision makers proactively seek out case studies when researching vendors, while just a third look for research that the vendor has commissioned.
· Decision makers still lack information when it comes to making their final purchasing decision – 37% of respondents say they find it difficult to find relevant information when they are at the final stage of the buying process.
The joint report from Hotwire and Vanson Bourne which examines where senior decision makers look for information. The findings challenge the widespread belief that Twitter and LinkedIn are the most effective social channels for B2B marketing.
The survey of 1,000 business decision makers on their habits, preferred channels and the sources of information that influence their purchasing decisions, reveals Facebook is more frequently used when making purchasing decisions than LinkedIn, which is cited as their preferred channel by just 17% of decision makers and far ahead of Twitter, which was the primary source of information for just 6% of decision makers.
Despite this preference for Facebook as a source of information, nearly a third (30%) of marketers do not plan to use Facebook in their own B2B marketing – highlighting the gulf between the way decision makers use social media themselves and how they think their peers use it.
The report reinforces the importance of social media as a source of information for decision makers. 87% of decision makers cite traditional media sources and social media as being equally important as sources of information and as reference points for purchasing decisions.
John Brown, Group Head of Engagement, Hotwire, said, “It’s time to put to bed the myth of some channels only being suitable for B2B comms and others for B2C. Social media has eroded these divides and created an environment where what matters is how compelling the story is, not where decision makers see the story.
“We need to stop making assumptions about what our audience want and allow research and insight to guide how we create multichannel campaigns. B2B businesses who ignore channels because they view them as only being for consumer are in for a rude shock when they realise no one cares about the channels they’ve lovingly invested in.”
The full report is available to download here.