3 minute read
B2B marketing has come a long way since the days of print ads and salespeople, and with new online engagement platforms popping up daily—the current shift towards social media shows no signs of slowing down.
Here are the facts behind the trends and the rationale for incorporating social media engagement into your B2B marketing strategy:
1. Buyers Control Their Own Marketing Consumption
More often than not, consumers are looking beyond traditional methods of engagement, and are pursuing personal interactions with brands via social media outlets. The trend is undeniable.
A few facts to consider:
- Over 70% of consumers find brands that neglect to distribute non-promotional materials untrustworthy.
- Many buyers are 50-60% down the sales funnel before establishing contact with a company.
- 9 out of 10 consumers report finding businesses online completely independent of outbound channels.
- 80% of buyers begin the purchasing process by using a search engine online.
For B2B marketers, establishing a trust-based relationship from first interaction is extremely important. Customers don’t trust sales pitches. Today’s buyer is instead turning to peer-to-peer referrals, brand connoisseurs, and industry leaders when considering various product offerings.
2. B2B Goes Social
61% of online marketers now use social media outlets to generate leads—and for good reason. B2B’s are increasingly reporting lead generation stats from social media engagement that go beyond the wildest dreams of any outbound marketer:
- The top B2B companies gained 230% more leads via social media than their competitors.
- Almost 70% of business owners that they were better able to gather insights into their market by use of social media.
- Over 56% of B2B marketers reported acquiring new business partnerships by utilizing social media.
- 60% saw improved SEO search rankings as a result of social media engagement.
3. Online Word of Mouth and Brand Advocates Are Key to Sales Growth
B2B transactions can run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars so buyers want to be sure they’re making the right choice. Rather than being sold on a product, customers instead turn to word-of-mouth referrals to validate their purchases:
- 84% of B2B buyers said word-of-mouth recommendations are the most important factor in purchasing decisions.
- Brand advocates are 3x more likely to share brand information than the average internet user.
- Brand advocates are 50% more likely to create content that positively influences purchasing decisions.
In the B2B marketing world, customer referrals and quality online content play a crucial role in acquiring new business.
Engaging with customers via social media platforms not only produces immediate results like that of customer referrals and high-value leads, but also leverages your brand to take advantage of the newest frontier in B2B marketing: the social web.
What changes have you noticed in the B2B world? Share your thoughts below.
Posted October 31, 2012 in B2B