Nancy Davis Kho Update on B2B Social Media Marketing
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By Nancy Davis Kho

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B2B marketing teams are relying on social media more than ever but, for reasons of low executive interest, lack of staffing, and perceived irrelevance, they're not necessarily using it as effectively as their counterparts in the B2C world. That's the takeaway from the newest entry in the B2B Social Media Marketing series on Mashable, which is supported by IDG Enterprise. In a vivid infographic synthesising the results of several underlying B2B marketing studies, it's clear that B2B marketing teams see social media channels as important - 86% of them are using it, compared to 82% of B2C firms. But the B2C firms are much more active on their social sites - 52% engaging with customers on a daily basis, compared to 32% of the B2B firms. Execs in the B2C world tend to be more supportive of social media efforts than in the B2B side, with more than a third of B2B marketers saying that there was a low level of interest from their executive team. Not surprisingly given that lack of executive interest, lack of adequate staffing and use of outside firms to support the social media effort were cited as obstacles on the B2B side. Even so, B2B marketers plan to boost budgets for activity in this area in the years to come; a Forrester study cited says 'B2B spending on interactive marketing is forecast to double in the next 5 years,'and is predicted to reach $4.8 billion by 2014. (The full infographic is available here: http://digbig.com/5bcwnd). Given the anticipated boost in social media marketing on the B2B side, Altimeter Group's new report should be required reading for anyone looking to keep 'social media strategist' in their CV. The report quantifies the reasons that social media strategists need to be proactive, or be relegated to what author Jeremiah Owyang terms the 'social media help desk.' The study, which focused on enterprises with more than 1,000 employees, found that 41% of social media strategists feel they are in reactive mode, rather than developing programs that stay ahead of the technology. While the study has a corporate marketing focus, it's a good read for anyone who wants to learn more about what traits identify a social media strategist on the ascent. Available for free download at http://digbig.com/5bcwne.

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