Set Your Sites on Social: A Look at the B2B Social Media Scene

By Cathy Applefeld Olson
01/21/2013

B2B magazines don’t tend to rely as heavily on social media as consumer pubs. But when a particular to-the-trade topic spills into the public lexicon, heightened digital buzz–pro or con–finds its way to their doorstep.

Such has been the case with the gun industry in the weeks since the school massacre in Newtown, Conn. While the National Rifle Association grabbed most of the headlines with its public relations campaign, other gun-related associations and magazines are experiencing greater exposure as well, as people both in and outside the industry widely discuss the matter.

If you subscribe to the motto there’s no such thing as bad publicity, this would appear to be a digital boon for pubs like American Firearms Industry, the magazine of the Professional Gun Retailers Association, which publishes a monthly print edition and operates a Web site as well as Facebook and Twitter accounts.

"We put opinions, news and views out there all the time," American Firearms editor Andy Lesmeister tells min. "There’s just been a lot more interest now because this is a hot news topic at this particular point."

Lesmeister says that although Facebook and Twitter activity has increased steeply during the past month, the publication has been loath to hire additional staff to monitor and respond to the traffic. The reason? “It’s a very highly specialized area that takes experts to handle, and frankly there are not that many experts available.”

Though Lesmeister didn’t provide specific numbers, he said regular advertisers in American Firearms closely track its social media numbers. As of now, he said, advertisers had not altered their business plans one way or another with the publication.

Among the B2B social media winners tracked by min, Adweek saw a marked increase in both Facebook (+7.2%) and Twitter (+ 4.89%) followings between Dec. 7, 2012, and Jan. 11, 2013 (see charts). Both will likely continue their upward trajectories as word spreads about the appointment of Ross Levinsohn to lead newly renamed parent company Guggenheim Digital Media, which also counts Billboard and The Hollywood Reporter among its media and entertainment titles.

Other Facebook gainers for the month (in percentage of growth) include Advantage’s R&D, up 10.64%; Hanley Wood’s Concrete Construction, up 10.12%; and Penton’s Machine Design, up 9.42%. AccessIntelligence’s Expo (a min sister publication), Reed’s Multichannel News and ALM’s Law.com all saw noteworthy gains in percentage of Twitter followers (as opposed to total number of followers, which is topped by Inc., Variety, and PCWorld).

Moose River’s Lawnsite.com saw only minor blips in its social media activity last month, but the publication is focusing its digital strategy on its Web site, starting with a major site redesign to ring in the the New Year. Key enhancements include cross-site content and search functionality (including Moose River’s Turf), and access to a greater breadth of multimedia assets, including video.

According to Moose River president/CEO Korry Stagnito, "As a B2B media resource, we constantly advocate progressive change for our audience and thought it was prudent to take our own advice."

min contributor Cathy Applefeld Olson is based in Northern Virginia. She also writes for our sister publication CableFAX Daily.

Top 20 B2B Publications on Twitter (% Gain in Followers)
B2B 1/11/13 12/7/12 % Gain More Followers www.twitter.com then…
EXPO/Access Inteligence* 2,049 1,897 7.42 152 /ExpoMagazine
Multi Channel/Reed 4,726 4,392 7.07 334 /MultiNews
Aviation Today/Access Intelligence* 13,197 12,302 6.78 895 /aviationtoday
Law.com Network/ALM 5,775 5,421 6.13 354 /lawdotcom
EE Times 6,830 6,422 5.97 408 /eetimes
Officer/Cygnus Business 7,722 7,290 5.59 432 /OfficerCom
CIO/IDG 43,656 41,232 5.55 2,424 /CIOonline
Firehouse/Cygnus Business 13,385 12,646 5.52 739 /FirehouseNews
Manufacturing.net/Advantage 6,507 6,157 5.38 350 /mnetnews
Information Week/UBM Technology 40,252 38,087 5.38 2,165 /informationweek
Farm Journal 12,633 11,958 5.34 675 /FarmJournal
Agriculture.com/Meredith 7,872 7,461 5.22 411 /agriculturecom
Computerworld/IDG 54,627 51,863 5.06 2,764 /computerworld
Adweek/Guggenheim Digital Media 102,971 97,938 4.89 4,496 /adweek
Spectrum IEEE 26,136 24,911 4.69 1,225 /ieeespectrum
JCK/Reed 6,359 6,072 4.51 287 /JCKMagazine
Industrial Maintenance & Plant Operation/ABM 3,949 3,771 4.51 178 /IMPOmag
Dr. Dobb’s Journal/UBM Technology 3,237 3,092 4.48 145 /dr_dobbs
Custom Home Online/Hanley Wood 5,170 4,952 4.22 218 /CustomHomeMag
Concrete Construction/Hanley Wood 4,802 4,600 4.21 202 /ConcreteConst
* Access Intelligence is the parent company of min.
Top 20 B2B Publications on Facebook (% Gain in Followers)
B2B 1/11/13 12/7/12 % Gain More Followers www.facebook.com then…
R & D/Advantage 282 252 10.64 30 /pages/RD-Magazine/204449438056
Concrete Construction/Hanley Wood 1,956 1,758 10.12 198 /concreteconstructionmagazine
Machine Design/Penton 4,330 3,922 9.42 408 /MachineDesignMagazine
Aviation Today/Access Intelligence* 2,424 2,197 9.36 227 /avianews
Multi Channel/NewBay 519 471 9.25 48 /multichannelnetwork
Broadcasting Cable/Reed 530 490 7.55 40 /BroadcastingandCable
Adweek/Guggenheim Digital Media 65,472 60,757 7.20 4,715 /Adweek
Industry Week/Penton Media 1,745 1,626 6.82 119 /pages/IndustryWeek/91310488418
NetworkWorld/IDG 10,053 9,440 6.10 613 /NetworkWorld
Residential Architect/Hanley Wood 5,029 4,755 5.45 274 /pages/residential-architect-magazine/97210929476
Network Computing/UBM Technology 683 649 4.98 34 /Network-Computing/39606324311
Medical Design Technology/Advantage 367 349 4.90 18 /pages/Medical-Design-Technology-Magazine/256432904869
InfoWorld 7,303 6,948 4.86 355 http://www.facebook.com/InfoWorld
Inc./Mansueto Ventures 138,003 131,483 4.72 6,520 /Inc
Minonline/Access Intelligence* 810 774 4.44 36 /minOnline
Agriculture.com/Meredith 5,029 4,808 4.39 221 /Agriculturecom/194103043335
JCK/Reed 4,051 3,876 4.32 175 /JCKmagazine
Studio Daily/Access Intelligence* 1,891 1,811 4.23 80 /studiodaily
Dr. Dobb’s Journal/UBM Technology 2,084 1,996 4.22 88 /drdobbs.com
CRN (Computer Reseller News)/UBM Tech 1,504 1,441 4.19 63 /ComputerResellerNews