Social Media Use for B‑to‑B is Growing

Business professionals who are seeking new products and services have long been accustomed to reading trade journals and attending conferences to get the most up-​to-​date information. As more of these professionals join social networking sites, they are beginning to use these sites as an information source in their research process. A recent study by Business​.com on this topic revealed some interesting differences between company sizes and industry types when it comes to social media use.

Smaller company employees tend to use social media for B‑to‑B purposes at higher rates than their counterparts at larger firms ( use 1.0 as the index average):

  • Companies with fewer than 10 employees: 1.01
  • Companies with between 10–99 employees: 0.99
  • Companies with between 100–499 employees: 1.00
  • Companies with 500+ employees: 0.97

B‑to‑B social media use also tends to vary by industry. Here are industries with the highest usage rates:

  • Real estate/​construction: 1.04
  • Health care: 1.01
  • Media/​entertainment: 1.01
  • Automotive 1.01
  • Computers/​Software: 1.00
  • Food/​Beverage: 1.00

When it comes to the usefulness of social media for business information, here’s how surveyed professionals responded (on a scale of 0–5):

  • Webinars/​Podcasts: 4.1
  • Reading ratings/​reviews for products/​services: 4.0
  • RSS feeds from news/​information sites: 3.9
  • Business content from 3rd party sites: 3.8
  • Online business communities/​forums: 3.8
  • Company or product profiles on social media sites: 3.8

As a result of findings like these, it's easy to see why B‑to‑B marketers who want to reach a broader audience may soon be expanding their online marketing efforts through increased webinars, podcasts, and profiles on social media sites.

[Source: 2009 Business Social Media Benchmarking Study, Business​.com]
Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-​owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.