I read this article from Mandy Edwards recently - and it got me thinking…
How can we put more meaning into social media statistics?
With 2.78 billion social media users worldwide and the average person spending more than 50 minutes of their day on Facebook alone - marketers need to be in the moment, they need to use the platforms that are defining the present and understand how to use them to entertain their audience, build relationships and coax conversions.
So, I lifted a couple of the stats from Mandy’s blog post. Chucked in a few others that I’ve come across recently. And pulled back the curtains for a closer look at what they really say about the state of social media.
What practical insights can your B2B brand start actioning today on the back of this?
1. More than 56% of online adults use more than one social media platform. (Small Biz Trends)
This isn’t a surprising one. But definitely something you need to be aware of.
We’ve spoken about the importance of social media in a marketing context and how distributing content across multiple platforms is a sound approach to increasing reach and engagement.
And yet you don’t want to risk diluting your message by stretching your efforts across too many platforms. And this sentiment was summed up by Neal Schaffer at Social Media Marketing World 2017 in San Diego:
As people join more and more social platforms, it becomes harder to define which one(s) will prove most effective for your content.
Don’t jump on every bandwagon that rattles by.
Be selective, do your homework, be a spectator for a while. Choose the channels that are going to get you to your destination. The channels that complement your brand message.
2. Nearly half (43%) of weekly Facebook activity and a third (33%) of weekly Twitter activity occurred on Sundays. (Nielsen)
It’s the weekend. People have more free time to browse.
It’s a simple equation.
They’re posting about their Saturday night antics and scrolling through their feeds - keen to share their experiences and keep up to date with everything their friends have been doing with their time out of the office (or wherever it is they choose to ply their trade).
They may even be doing a little bit of prep/research for the work week ahead. Who knows?
For B2B brands especially, 5pm on Friday shouldn’t signal the beginning of a 2 and a half day period of unabashed hush on your brand’s social media accounts.
No-one engages with silent vigils.
Nearly half (yes HALF) of all Facebook activity happens on Sunday - and a third on Twitter. If you’re not there to get in on the action, you’re losing traction at the busiest time of the week.
So how do you overcome this?
First. Spend some time during the week scheduling content ahead for the weekend.
Think carefully about what times people will be checking their accounts. I’m gonna wager that a large percentage will be during the evening, as they float between their phones and Netflix.
And what about in the mornings?
Most of us check our phones pretty much as soon as our eyes open, right?
And what about those boring daily commutes? You might be on the train, the bus or even walking down the street right now (don’t trip).
Look up. How many people do you see on their phones? Loads.
Second. If you have some time yourself, don’t hesitate to dip in to see who’s been engaging with your posts, which hashtags are trending and which conversations you can join.
Like it or not. Social media management isn’t a 9 to 5, Monday to Friday kinda deal.
3. 85% of people rely on Twitter and Facebook for their morning news. (Byte of Data)
A 2016 study by The Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism found that social media has overtaken TV as the main news source for young people. And when you consider that 73% of B2B buying decisions are made millennials, this take on a whole new relevance.
Social media is not only evolving into the place to find out the latest headlines and keep your finger on the pulse, it’s also somewhere to share the news that matters to you and talk about it with your networks of friends online.
Forget radio, forget TV, forget newspapers. The instant, gratuitous access to news that social media gives its users is the present and the future.
It’s where new stories break first and it's often part of the story itself.
For brands this throws up a priceless opportunity to get directly involved in the things people are talking about and the stories their audience give a damn about.
Known as newsjacking, the practice of leveraging news and trending topics for increased exposure on social media is something that consumer brands have been doing for quite a while now...
But that's not to say it doesn't have a place in B2B marketing. It's actually an awesome tactic for differentiating your B2B brand.
Newsjacking requires agile thinking and clever timing.
It also needs a sharp eye for fake news - an online epidemic that’s been publicised in the media a lot recently.
If you’re going to piggyback a breaking story by writing a blog post or harness a hashtag, be sure there’s truth in it for starters. You should also avoid potentially polarising, controversial stories, keep it relevant to your brand and make sure you understand the context.
Check out these hilarious and harmful hashtag fails to give you an idea of what can go wrong. And while you’re at it, watch this video from David Meerman Scott…
4. 80% of leads sourced through social media for B2B marketers come from LinkedIn (LinkedIn)
...not neglecting to mention that the platform sees 59% of all B2B social media lead generation - compared to 28% on Twitter and 24% on Facebook. You simply can’t ignore it.
The platform itself is home to 61 million Senior level influencers and over 40 million decision makers. And LinkedIn itself report that 43% of marketers have sourced a customer from the site. Can you smell the opportunity?
While LinkedIn’s dominance as a B2B marketing channel is far from a ground breaking revelation, there’s still a lot of brands out there who are yet to take full advantage of it.
Growing a Company Page is no easy feat. You can’t follow other accounts for starters - which for Twitter and Instagram users is one of the simplest growth hacks around (albeit not the most valuable approach).
So then, how the hell do you do it?
There are reams and reams of LinkedIn company page best practices posts available - should you choose to venture over to Google. Most of which, I won’t lie to you, say pretty similar things.
So I’ll save you the hassle:
- Use standout profile and banner imagery
- Optimise for search (that’s right, Company Pages are SEO friendly)
- Share engaging content
- Engage with LinkedIn groups
- Invest in sponsored ‘Follow’ Ad campaign
Stellar advice that’s definitely worth integrating into your long term strategy.
But what about the short term?
Due to the professional nature of the LinkedIn platform, it’s paid ads platform is a goldmine for B2B marketers. Not only can you use it to air your high-performing content to users in specific job roles and industries, you can also target employees at specific companies - which is an super valuable feature.
Got an eBook to share or another useful bite of downloadable content? Why not make use of LinkedIn purely as an advertising platform? That’s not to say you should neglect organic engagement. But by getting your content in front of the right people, at the right time you’ll likely drive website traffic growth and invigorated lead generation.
And you don’t need thousands of followers to do it.
5. 33% B2B brands on Instagram compared to 51% of B2C (Social Media Examiner)
I’m gonna throw another curve ball now…
B2B brands get 20 times more engagement on Instagram than on LinkedIn (Trackmaven).
LinkedIn might be the epicentre of social media B2B lead gen, but Instagram is the playground where brand awareness is the economy and engagement is the currency.
It actually outstrips all other social media networks by a crazy amount across multiple industries…
Common sense tells us that those brands, the early birds, who pitch up on social media platforms before they become overcrowded, are the ones who reap the biggest rewards.
Now, I’m not saying that Instagram hasn’t caught fire yet. It’s fucking HUGE. Of course it is.
But, oddly, there’s a ton of B2B brands out there that haven’t realised it yet - two thirds to be precise.
We are seeing the platform becoming a more marketing friendly environment for brands - with the emergence of live video and Stories changing its dynamic entirely. I’d personally be surprised if that 33% isn’t more like 50% by this time next year.
While the benefits of Instagram are more obvious in B2C - it lends itself to industries like fashion and food - there’s definitely massive value to be gained by B2B marketers who are willing to take the plunge and donate the time.
And if you want to check out our ongoing experiment with Instagram - you can follow our account here. There’ll be a blog post on our adventures coming soon.
Be socially pro-active
Plenty to think about - and plenty to go away and work on.
I know in my research I uncovered a few plot holes in the way we’ve been using SupaReal’s accounts. And that’s what social media is all about at the end of the day.
Doing the research. Observing your audience. Finding the best solutions in terms of when and where to post, how to engage with your followers and what converts them into leads.
Until next time guys. ✌🏼