B2B Not A Strong Social Media Marketer

According to a recent study by digital marketing firm White Horse, only 18% of B2B companies say they have no current social media activity, compared to 14% for B2C. The degree of engagement varied widely, says the report. Nearly half of B2B marketers have only a basic social media presence, e.g., a Twitter and Facebook account, or a company blog, and only one-third are engaged in social media day-to-day.



The results of the study indicate that while some B2B marketers' social media engagement statistics are similar to those of B2C marketers, overall B2B marketers are less engaged in social media than their B2C counterparts.

Level of Social Media Engagement (% of Respondents)


Type of Marketer

Degree of Engagement



Extensive use, integrated into paid media



Daily social engagement, but no paid media integration



Basic social presence, but no significant marketing



Not actively engaged in social media



Source: White Horse, May 2010

A combined 59% of B2B marketers have only a basic social media presence (45%) or are not actively engaged in social media marketing (14%). In contrast, a combined 44% of B2C marketers have only a basic social media presence (26%) or are not actively engaged (18%).

The biggest obstacle that B2B marketers face in pursuing social media initiatives, according to the study, is lack of executive buy-in. While B2B marketing departments eagerly embrace new ways to engage in the traditional practice of networking with prospects, more than one-third of B2B marketers report low executive support for social media, as compared to only 9% for B2C marketers.

On the other end of the scale, however, deep and direct executive engagement is as typical of B2B marketers as it is for B2C. This reflects the ground-level nature of much of B2B marketing, in which executives often play an active role, concludes the report. 

Results indicate that both B2B and B2C marketers have difficulty with executive social media buy-in. However, a much higher percentage of B2B marketers report low executive interest than B2C marketers. Twenty-three percent of B2B marketers report their executives are curious but need education, compared to 39% of B2C marketers. The two groups converge at the top level of having executives who support and are actively engaged in social media (14% of B2B and 13% of B2C).

Executive Sponsorship/Acceptance of Social Media (% of Respondents)


Type of Marketer

Level of Support



Executives support and are directly engaged



Executives support, but not engaged



Executives curious, but need education



Low interest in social media



Source: White Horse, May 2010

Survey results indicate that while a sizable percentage of both B2B and B2C marketers have little or no social media engagement, the obstacles they face are somewhat different. The three leading obstacles B2B marketers face, according to the report, are insufficient personnel to maintain (about 50%) and a three-way tie between lack of organizational knowledge, preference for traditional marketing and perceived irrelevance to their field (about 45% each).

And, insufficient personnel to maintain is also the top obstacle for B2C marketers, but was selected by a much higher 65% of B2C respondents. This was followed by a three-way tie between lack of organizational knowledge, need to prove ROI, and concerns over negative feedback (about 50% each).

Among B2B marketers using social media, significantly more are not measuring results, compared to only 10% of B2C marketers. Neither B2B nor B2C marketers are measuring direct ROI to any significant degree. The emerging consensus is that such efforts are often fallacious, given the multiple, complex influences that lead to purchase.

Method of Measuring Social Media Marketing Success (% of Respondents)


Type of Marketer




Direct ROI



Site traffic impact



Participation only



Not measuring



Source: White Horse, May 2010

The report concludes that B2C companies generally obtain more value from their social media marketing efforts. 51% percent of B2C companies have acquired a customer from Twitter, compared to 38% of B2B companies. The difference is most stark in customer acquisition figures for Facebook, from which 68% of B2C companies have obtained a customer, but only 33% of B2B companies.

When it comes to professional social media network LinkedIn, notes the report, the usefulness trends reverse. 45% percent of B2B companies have obtained a customer from LinkedIn, compared to only 26% of B2C companies. Figures for company blog customer acquisition are closest in range, with 57% of B2C companies and 43% of B2B companies obtaining a customer through this channel.

For additional information, and access to the complete PDF file and charts, please visit White Horse here.



4 comments about "B2B Not A Strong Social Media Marketer".
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  1. Linda Moskal from WNPV Radio, June 9, 2010 at noon

    Your first paragraph and chart do not agree.

  2. Fred Jones, June 9, 2010 at 12:03 p.m.

    Wait, what? first you say that the emerging consensus is that efforts to measure direct ROI from Social Media is often fallacious. Then in the VERY next paragraph, you go on to say that over half of B2C customers have acquired a customer from Twitter?!?!
    Don't you have to atleast prequalify those stats by saying they are anecdotal?
    Drank all the social media Kool-Aid I see...

  3. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, June 9, 2010 at 12:55 p.m.

    Why would anyone in a business to business conversation want it to be public?

  4. Erin Leach-Kemon, June 10, 2010 at 3:58 p.m.

    Hi Jack,

    Great post! I agree with your point that the inability to effectively measure ROI is the main problem for B2B marketers when trying to convince executives to support social media as a marketing strategy.

    We, Optify, are going to introduce a new framework to help businesses measure their social media ROI during our free webinar next week:

    Too often, it seems that social media is part of the path of converting visitors to leads, but businesses tend to focus on the source of leads just before conversion, rather than all of the other sources leading up to that changeover. With businesses focusing on just a segment of the metrics that were essential to helping them reach conversion rather than the whole, it’s no wonder social media marketing appears fruitless at times. What are your thoughts?

    Erin Leach-Kemon
    Optify, Social Media Specialist

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