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How B2B Marketers are Using Social Media


eMarketer reports that results of a BtoB magazine survey indicate that social media marketing will be of more importance to business-to-business (B2B) marketers in 2010. However, it's not clear how many B2B marketers are fully utilizing digital marketing tools.

Website, e-mail and search spending are online tactics likely to increase, and social media is close behind. Six in ten B2B marketers planned to increase their spending on social media marketing in 2010.

Fifty-four percent of respondents currently use social media for marketing. That was up 9 percentage points from November 2008 and about 4 points from June 2009.

"Thought leadership" was the main intended purpose, though about one-half hoped to "generate leads" through social media activities. That said, what about all the other stages of the B2B buying-cycle?

As an example, most enterprise IT leaders seek out information and guidance to procure complex technology products and services, and yet few vendors make this type of content readily available online.

In addition, respondents to a prior survey by Visible Technologies and SiriusDecisions had identified somewhat different priorities. The top way those survey participants leveraged social media was for "generating awareness," followed by "customer engagement."

About one-third of respondents had created a customer community, while one-fifth used podcasts. Slightly fewer (18 percent) relied on blogs, and only 14 percent were tweeting. Success with social media tools was mainly being measured through Web traffic, response rates and qualified leads.

Moreover, most B2B marketers reported tracking results themselves, either manually or with a monitoring tool. One-fifth relied on an Ad or PR agency for metrics, while 21 percent reported not tracking their success at all.

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