We know the power of social media in creating brand awareness, but are companies using it to drive demand generation as well? This 2012 survey by Eloqua investigated how B2B marketers use social media to promote, engage and sell.
Social media as a marketing tool
Only 64% of the UK companies surveyed use social media as a marketing tool, meaning that over a third (36%) do not. Within those companies, the PR/communications department is most often responsible for the social media strategy and output (in 26% of cases).
Interestingly, the next most common arrangement is for social media to be shared across different departments (23%), while only 11% of companies using social media marketing leave it under the control of the website team.
Companies cited three top reasons for using social media: creating brand awareness (83%), encouraging social sharing (56%) and gaining trust and followers (55%). Under a third (32%) said they use it for lead generation, while only 16% use social media to assess market perception of their brand.
The most popular social networks
B2B marketers clearly favour the ‘big three’ social networks as marketing tools. Those who use social media for demand generation, 80% use Facebook, 78% use Twitter and 51% use LinkedIn. The ‘professional social network’ trails behind despite figures suggesting that it is almost 300% more effective than Facebook and Twitter for lead generation.
Demand and lead generation
Over half of B2B companies are not tapping into social media’s potential as a lead generation tool. When asked “Is your company using social media for demand generation?”, only 35% of respondents said yes. No was the answer from 53%, while 12% were unsure..
Most companies (43%) admit they have no strategy in place for incorporating social media into demand generation. A third were unclear of the value, while 18% said a lack of tools prevented them from using social media for lead generation.
Is the future social for B2B marketers?
The study indicates that B2B marketers are planning to use social media marketing increasingly. Three quarters of the sample indicated ways their company plans to use it in the future, with “to better understand market perception” as the leading goal (17%).
Marketers expect to see benefits from using social media to generate demand, including increased reach and brand awareness (50%), driving inbound leads to increase revenue (35%) and measurable impact on demand or revenue (28%).
‘Intriguing’ new tools
With a variety of new social media applications and tools appearing continually, Eloqua asked B2B marketers which they find most ‘intriguing’. Social sharing buttons raise the most interest (29%), followed by social activity widgets (22%) and social sign-on (10%).
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