Social media key to engaging with business decision makers

Epic MSLGROUP recently embarked on a research project with the aim of determining the importance of using social media as a business tool within the Business-to-Business environment. A total of 100 business decision makers from various sectors were surveyed, the majority of whom were executive directors.

Public Relations and communications agency

The results of the survey, highlighted in the infographic, prove that social media has become a key medium through which to engage business decision makers.

Firstly, the results show that an extremely high percentage of respondents use these social media platforms - 95% use Facebook, 83% use LinkedIn and 78% use Twitter.

Interestingly, the results reveal that business people are using all the platforms for business networking - 86% use Facebook and LinkedIn while 78% use Twitter. They also reveal that a high percentage of the respondents (82%) like it when companies of interest interact with them on social media. The statistics highlight that it is now possible and even necessary to build relationships with current and potential clients in an online environment.

A significant portion also use social media platforms to gain industry knowledge, with 65% using Twitter, 58% LinkedIn and 55% Facebook for this purpose. Over 50% of respondents reported using social media platforms to engage with experts in their industry.

These findings suggest that brands and individuals can and should use social media platforms to showcase their industry knowledge, thought leadership and intellectual capital, rather than trying to push products or services.

The surprisingly high Facebook usage by business decision makers dispel the common misperceptions that Facebook should only used for communication with consumers, while Twitter and LinkedIn are the more appropriate platforms for business communication.

Businesses in the B2B space can run the risk of missing out with communicating and networking with parts of their target audience if they are only active on one platform. However, this does not mean they utilise a platform just for the sake of it – they should rather use targeting options, which include earned and paid media to make sure they reach their audience effectively, determine which platforms generate the best results and adapt their approach based on those results.

The trick is knowing how to target the business audience on each platform. To get this right, the content must be appropriate per the platform being used and engagement must be done in the correct way.

While business users are using all the platforms, each platform still has a unique role in the communication ecosystem. This means that one cannot just apply a blanket approach by copying and pasting the same content on each platform. You need to consider the unique circumstances and strategy when approaching each platform.

The social media landscape is rapidly changing and the findings from this survey reveal that these platforms have evolved from being channels through which to engage consumers, to ones where business decision makers can also be successfully reached.