The latest B2B social benchmark stats for your 2023 plans

Here we go again (for those of us long in the tooth), with more economic uncertainty. It means we’re in a fight for budget, buyer attention and resource. We need the B2B social ammunition to:

  • Give leaders the facts that will maintain investment in marketing
  • Know where the opportunities are to unlock pipeline and grow business
  • Understand effectiveness and efficiency to maximise ROI

Clear benchmarks for social media marketing, which never stops changing (and given the Musk Twitter debacle, it’s never going to stop!), are needed to create the business case.

Despite all the hurdles B2B marketers face, a recent YouGov survey suggests that we are largely optimistic – 76% of B2B marketing leaders remain positive.

B2B Marketers optimistic despite economic incertainty

Knowing the challenges for the year ahead, we teamed up with Onalytica to run a survey of B2B marketers, asking them in detail about everything social, from content, to employee advocacy, through to B2B influencer strategies.

We presented highlights at the B2B social Trailblazers Summit, and the full report launches soon (reserve your copy). In the meantime, I’d like to share with you a sneak preview of findings that focus on social marketing.

So, what are B2B marketers saying:

Oh nooo, we are all in the same place

Everyone, and I mean everyone (like 100%) of respondents said they are on LinkedIn. Bear in mind that over 58 million companies have a presence on LinkedIn!

85% of B2B brands are on Twitter (well for now, at least), 56% are on Facebook, and 4 in 10 are on Instagram.

The obvious opportunity is in the significant reach, as B2B spreads its wings across multiple social platforms. But it also means that social is crowded, noisy and it’s hard to break through to buyers. Our advice:

  • Have a personality that is memorable, as well as true to your brand
    • We all know that people buy from people – look at ‘why’ your audience wants to buy instead of promoting product / service
    • You need consistent quality content – and it needs to be relentless. You cannot switch social on and off

We know we need to be relevant, but…

Buyers will pay attention to social content that means something to them. It’s why we focus on the ‘Whys’. Yet only One in three B2B brands tailor content to each channel. Even when we know behaviours, mindsets and even trends and moments are different on each channel.   

It seems we are still blasting out the same content regardless of whom we are reaching and where we are reaching them.

Relevance is essential to:

  • Get cut-through and resonate with buyers – thumb-stopping content are posts that resonate with audiences
  • Match the mindset of the buyer – and maximise mental availability (so much better than a like or a share)
  • Ensure effectiveness – when 75% of B2B advertising is contributing zero in terms of long-term market share growth, understanding what matters to your audience is now an essential to deliver results

Industry goals mature into long- and short-term approach

Not only are we stretching our legs across more social channels, but it also seems we have clear goals that meet the long- and short-term ambitions of the business.

71% of B2B brands set Brand awareness as the priority objective

71% of marketers rated brand awareness as their most important objective and 18% Demand gen.

This is smart given the insight Professor John Dawes of the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute shares: that only 5% of B2B buyers are in-market to buy right now. Which means long term thinking, brand building and memorability, will capture minds, hearts and attention for when buyers are ready to buy!

In fact, a LinkedIn survey says B2B marketers believe a strong brand supports long-term sales (52%), and because it helps brands stay top of mind for buyers (42%). Over a third (38%) say that it helps them to attract talent.  We are on the right track!

Ahh the nub of the challenge

The issue with creating tailored, relatable, content becomes clear when we look at the benchmark data around the biggest B2B challenges. The top three are:

Sadly, these were the top challenges when we conducted this survey in 2020. Driven mostly by lack of budget and lack of resources. We are yet to solve this problem. A more focused approach would help us drive up quality and reduce content creation. And that means:

  1. Content creation based on knowing our customers / buyers on social
  2. Having a clear (but agile) plan (80% of those that didn’t have a plan documented told us that social media was an afterthought or a wrap around after the campaign – not focused on the social audience)
  3. Creating content pillars that speak to pain points, purchase triggers and the context in which a purchase might be made

More benchmarks to come

There is more to unpack in the research, so do sign up to receive the full report. However, I was struck by this research of over 1,700 B2B marketing leaders that says:

“The research finds that as B2B marketers look to do more with less, proving marketing effectiveness to influential stakeholders in the organisation is critical. Of the companies that have seen budgets impacted, 3 in 10 (30%) say the business does not understand B2B marketing ROI”

If these benchmarks ring a bell, and you need help to build a business case that will help you gain investment, then give us a shout – after 19 years in social B2B (as old as LinkedIn itself) we have some smart ways to help you snaffle budgets, resource and the support you need.

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