You can probably guess the top two social networks for B2B marketing pretty easily, but do you know which platform is #3? What the biggest missed opportunity is for B2B marketers? How your social media marketing budget stacks up to your peers and competitors?
Though the entire 25-page report is worth a read, here’s a much shorter look at a few of the most important—and surprising—findings from the study.
The Biggest Challenge in B2B Social Media Marketing
While producing enough content and creating high-quality content are perennial challenges for B2B social media and content marketers, the biggest challenge is standing out. Per the report, there are:
- 93.6 million photos and videos shared daily on Instagram;
- 694,000 hours of YouTube videos streamed by users; and
- 575,000 tweets published.
Consistently creating posts with punchy copy plus eye-catching imagery and the optimal mix of hashtags isn’t easy, but without the effort, you content will get lost of the deluge of text and graphics shared every day.
The Top Social Networks for B2B Marketing
As noted here previously in Best Social Media Platform for B2B Marketing: Can Twitter Stay #2?, “LinkedIn is, of course and unquestionably, the Tom Brady of social media platforms for B2B marketing.” Onalytica’s research adds to that the somewhat remarkable finding that 100% of B2B marketers (at least in their survey) are creating content for LinkedIn.
Twitter remains the second-most popular network, used by 85% of B2B marketers. Facebook is at #3, used by 56% of respondents, followed by Instagram which is used by 44%. In what seems like a gap in the research, YouTube doesn’t appear on the list of the top seven B2B social media tools.
The Biggest Missed Opportunity for B2B Marketers
According to the the study, only 55% of B2B marketers are creating blog content. That seems a bit low compared to other studies, such as reporting by Neal Schaffer that 65% of content marketers say blogs are their most-used format, 59% of B2B marketers say blogs are the most important tool they use, and the benefits of business blogging are beyond compelling.
Still, if that figure is even close to accurate, it shows that a substantial share of B2B marketers are missing prime opportunities to connect with prospects, create highly sharable and impactful social media content, demonstrate thought leadership, and significantly improve their visibility in organic search.
How Much of the Marketing Budget is Allocated to Social Media
This graphic from the report shows the breakdown, but the key takeaway is that 78% of B2B marketers allocate 20% or less of their total marketing budget to social media. This isn’t surprisingly, considering that as noted here before, social media may be sexy but search pays the bills.
Based on research from LinkedIn, more than half of marketers say social media drives less than 8% of their total website traffic, and nearly three-quarters say it drives fewer than 14% of visits. Across industries, social media drives about 6% of traffic on average, while search accounts for 60%.
How Much Budget is Allocated to Influencer Marketing
The Onalytica report confirms that for most B2B marketers, influencer marketing is still sort of like the deepest point in the ocean: it’s fascinating, but we don’t know very much about it.
To quote the study:
90% of B2B marketers believe in and see the value in Influencer Marketing. However, 70% of marketers are yet to start or are still in experimentation phase, meaning that 89% of marketers dedicate less than 10% of their budget to Influencer Marketing, 50% of which have no budget at all.”
Again, that’s not surprising. While B2C marketers have an established ecosystem, tools, common practices, and even standard pricing for their influencer marketing programs, B2B influencer marketing is different from B2C. It’s still an emerging discipline, based more on relationships than transactions.
The report quotes Michael Brenner of Marketing Insider Group, saying “(Influencers) can transform our brand narratives into personal storytelling by creating content, event speaking and consulting on strategy. Leveraging internal and external content creators plus internal Subject Matter Experts can help us drive significantly greater brand awareness, engagement and leads if we partner and collaborate with them.”
The Biggest Challenges in B2B Content Marketing
As noted above, creating compelling content, and enough of it, is a consistent difficulty for B2B marketers. The Onalytica report adds some depth to that, noting “69% of B2B marketers claim their number one challenge is to do with the content creation process,” and of that 69%:
- 38% say creating engaging content is their biggest challenge;
- 17% identify creating enough quality content is their biggest challenge; and
- 14% claim it is creating a variety of content.
More budget and more executive support would be helpful. But so is casting a wider net for content creators, both internally and externally. Inside the company, find employees with interesting stories to tell, and share those stories in different formats: blog posts, video, and podcasts. Look outside the company for help with interviewing, writing, and technical production.
10% of B2B Marketers Are Idiots
Okay, the report doesn’t actually say that. But it does note that 10% of B2B marketers are using TikTok as part of their social media efforts. First, it’s highly unlikely they’ll reach any significant number of B2B buyers there. Second, TikTok is Chinese spyware. No one should have this dangerous app installed on any of their devices. Ever.
The Most Useful Advice
The report closes with seven valuable, actionable takeaways. One of the most interesting is to shift to personal storytelling:
Whenever you create or publish content, always put your employees or external influencers at the forefront of your strategy. This could be making them the star of the show or facilitating them to write their own perspective so that your content does not sound too generic. They are the experts, so let them share their expertise on behalf of your brand!”
Here’s a great example about building high-performing teams in which team building company Best Corporate Events quotes Roy Charette, a senior trainer and facilitator whose background includes such varied experiences as leading Outward Bound canoe trips and doing standup improv comedy (you just know he’s got some interesting stories to tell).
There’s much more in this social media marketing report, including findings on tailoring social media posts for each platform, employee branding and employee influencers, tips for creating engaging content, addressing customer pain points, and creating a social media strategy. It’s well worth a read.