Is Social Media in Your Marketing Mix? 60% b2b Companies Say Yes!

By Jeff Killeen
Jeff Killeen

Good chance you’ve grappled with how much weight to put on "social media" in your marketing mix. And I’m sure you’ve received a fair amount of advice on this, from both the old school and new school quarters of your organization, as well as from your external advisors. Let me share with you what the industrial/technical sector of the b2b market, on both the "buy" side and on the "sell" side, is telling us about the importance of social media, and what their commitment levels are to this channel. I think their behavior can help you decide what your right course of action should be.

In GlobalSpec’s latest Industrial Marketing Survey, the top three new areas being cited for increased marketing investment by technical products b2b companies were videos, online trade shows and social media applications. It is no surprise that social media applications are now a serious part of the marketing mix of more than 60% of the b2b companies that we survey.

The relevance of social media to b2b marketers is that it provides a 24/7/365 platform to your customers and prospects to talk about your products and your brand, without you necessarily being in the room. The magnitude of that (think about it for a minute) should be all the incentive we need to want to master this new channel, position ourselves to learn from it and use that new knowledge as leverage.

Earlier this year, we released our third annual Social Media Usage Survey of the engineering, technical, industrial and manufacturing knowledge worker audience. The survey compiled 600 respondents cutting across multiple industrial categories. Nearly half (49%) held engineering positions, including design, consulting and process/production.

Here’s what we found:

  • Participation on LinkedIn grew nearly 50% from 2010 to 2011. More than half of respondents said they had a LinkedIn account and are using it.
  • Facebook usage is significant, with 60% of those surveyed saying that they have proactively stepped up and said that they “like” companies within their industry, 39% saying that they participate in work-focused discussions and 37% saying that they read about job-related activities on this social network.
  • Nearly a third (29%) of industrial/technical professionals reported creating Google+ accounts.

The chart below, from GlobalSpec’s Industry Trends & Research Report, illustrated that the primary way industrial companies participate in social media today is through Facebook.

So what should you do? I would take every opportunity available to me to engage in conversations with my target audience, especially since I know that they are talking about me already.

This is an excerpt from an article by Jeff Killeen.  Killeen is the CEO of East Greenbush, N.Y.-based GlobalSpec, Inc., a digital media company that serves the industrial & technical b2b markets.