In a study released earlier this year, BtoB found that 32% of b2b marketers consider themselves to be “very” or “fully” engaged with social media marketing. That was up from just 21% a year earlier. Better still, the study, “Social Media Marketing: A Surge in Adoption,” projected that 53% of marketers will be very engaged next year.
Those are great numbers, certainly. But while b2b marketers are flocking to social media marketing in ever-increasing droves, the question remains: Are they making the most of these channels?
A recently released report from Forrester Research, “Uncovering the Value of Social Intelligence for B2B Companies,” indicates they have much room for improvement, especially compared with their b-to-c counterparts.
The report was based on an online survey of companies with social media listening platforms. Among the findings: 26% of b2b companies spend less than $500 per month on listening platform technology, compared with just 11% of b-to-c marketers. B2b companies also tend to have fewer dashboard seats. “Simply put, social intelligence is not a priority for many b2b companies, requiring fewer employees to have access to social data,” Forrester said in the report.
Forrester recommends that b2b companies step up their listening initiatives by adopting what it calls the four P's of social intelligence: “Turning social data into actionable business insights takes the right people, a clear and measurable purpose, a fine-tuned listening platform, and a repeatable business process. But many b2b brands find themselves behind the curve of b-to-c brands' maturity because they overlook one or more of those facets.”
Among Forrester's specific recommendations:
“B2b companies' unfocused listening platform tactics and the small amount of dashboard seats b2b companies staff mean that there are too few people tracking too many things,” Forrester said in conclusion. “Although simplifying the dashboard use and bringing in outside help will make the job easier, b2b companies must plan their social intelligence strategy around scalable processes. Look within the organization for existing decision trees and work flows, then determine where social intelligence fits before blindly collecting insights.”
So there you have it. While getting into the social media marketing game is great, it's what you do once you're there that really counts.
John Obrecht is editor of BtoB and Media Business. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.