According to reports by Outsell and Forrester Research, social media marketing spending by business-to-business companies is expected to grow by 43.3% in 2010 and will hit $54 million in 2014 (up from $11 million in 2009).
Is your company ready for what’s being called the business-to-business social media marketing explosion?
Business-to-business companies are shifting marketing budget dollars to social media and online marketing quickly in order to leverage the opportunities the social Web presents, even though according to a November 2009 survey by Business.com (reported by eMarketer), 73% of business-to-business marketers who were using social media had less than two years of social media marketing experience. That’s nearly 3 out of 4 people who really don’t know what they’re doing, but they’ll be getting more money to keep doing it.
Following is the breakdown of the change in social media marketing spending for several popular initiatives among business-to-business marketers in 2010:
- Spending on social networking sites: up 43.3%
- Spending on webinars: up 26.0%
- Spending on search engines: up 17.1%
- Spending on company Web sites: up 7.5%
I should point out that I’d argue that spending on search engines and company Web sites doesn’t necessarily equate to social media marketing spending in my book, so take that into consideration when you look at the results above.
Business-to-business social media marketing might happen on different branded destinations than business-to-consumer marketing and the type of shareworthy content a company publishes is certainly different, but the underlying principles and strategies of social media marketing still apply regardless of what you’re selling and to whom. Just as with traditional marketing, you have to modify your placement and messages to match your audience. In other words, you need to find your target audience online, and start and join the conversations that matter to them. Until you take that step, your social media marketing investments can only take you so far.
Should business-to-business companies increase their social media marketing spending sooner rather than later? Absolutely. Why? Because their clients and customers are spending time on the social Web. Would you ignore those people if they were standing in front of you ready to engage in conversations that interest them? No. Then why would you ignore them on the social Web? Get out there, find your audience, and start interacting with them!
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