Social media impact for B2B marketers strong, but potentially limited…

While having a long distance relationship in the beginning, social media and B2B marketers seem to be settling into their honeymoon period and perhaps marriage.  While B2B marketers do seem to be reaping some of the benefits of social media in terms of data gathering, lead generation and prospecting; according to a study conducted by LeadForce1, the benefits they are enjoying appear to be focusing more on brand awareness and education (the top part of the purchase funnel) rather than increasing product and service consideration (and ultimately purchase).

Here’s a glimpse of what the LeadForce1 study found:

  • Visitors from the top social sites (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Wikipedia) were much more likely to click on a company’s information and blog pages rather than company’s products or services pages.
  • LinkedIn and Wikipedia users were more likely to browse around company Websites before leaving.  LinkedIn users, however, tended to be interested in “careers” pages, suggesting the business-oriented social network refers many job seekers.
  • Visitors from Wikipedia were most likely to be carrying out product research.

 

Visitors to B2B Sites from Facebook, by Site Pages of Interest*, June 2010 (% of total)

Visitors to B2B Sites from Twitter, by Site Pages of Interest*, June 2010 (% of total)

 

Visitors referred from Facebook or Twitter generally visited only one page before leaving. This suggests that social network users are willing to follow company links to check out content but unlikely to make the leap to the pages that would be conducive to the purchase consideration.

Visitors Referred from Social Media Sites to B2B Sites Who Only Visited a Single Page, June 2010 (% of each group)

 

So the B2B marketer’s search for social media’s impact on the full purchase funnel continues.  That said, I am still excited about the potential social media provides to me and the other B2B marketers out there!

Happy marketing!

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