Business-to-business marketers have bought into social media as a key marketing tool, even if they aren’t exactly sure how it helps their business.
New research from eMarketer has found that 47 percent of respondents say that social media usage is now fully integrated or very involved as a focal point of their marketing strategies. That number is up from 26 percent last year. Just 4 percent of B2B marketers say they do not use social media in their marketing campaigns.
That jump has come, even as marketers admit they do not have a clear and repeatable formula for increasing sales through social media.
Instead, social media is being used in other valuable ways, the researchers say. First, 89 percent of B2B marketers see social media as a way to increase their exposure. Three-quarters of respondents say they used social media as a way to increase traffic and 69 percent say they use social media as a way to provide marketplace insight.
Respondents also say they use social media to develop fans, generate leads, improve search rankings, grow partnerships and reduce marketing expenses. Just 43 percent of respondents say they use social media to improve sales, the least popular response among B2B marketers.
“Social media marketing is no longer nice to have — it’s a must have,” said Mark Yolton, senior vice president of digital, social and communities at business software and services purveyor SAP, one of the companies surveyed for the research. “Our customers expect it. Our competitors are all doing it. And unless we embrace and excel at social media marketing integrated into the full marketing mix, we’ll be at a competitive disadvantage.”
The researchers say that many of the most successful B2B marketers are implementing social media campaigns along with other more traditional techniques, like search engine optimization and email marketing.
The research was based on the responses of digital experts from top B2B companies, including SAP, Xerox and Adobe.
Originally published on BusinessNewsDaily.