Originally published on Mashable
People interact with their favorite brands on Facebookfar more than on any other social network, according to a recent study of online consumer behavior.
The study, conducted by Constant Contact and research firm Chadwick Martin Bailey, analyzed the behavior of 1,491 consumers ages 18 and older throughout the United States and revealed a number of details about how people interact with brands on the world’s largest social network.
When it comes to “Liking” brands on Facebook, the reasons are varied, but for the most part, respondents said they “Like” a brand on Facebook because they are a customer (58%) or because they want to receive discounts and promotions (57%).
Being a fan, for the most part, is a rather passive activity. A whopping 77% of consumers said they interact with brands on Facebook primarily through reading posts and updates from the brands.
A measly 17% of respondents said they interact with brands by sharing experiences and news stories with others about the brand, and only 13% of respondents said they post updates about brands that they Like.
The study also pointed to a number of encouraging stats for businesses, including:
56% of consumers said they are more likely to recommend a brand to a friend after becoming a fan on Facebook
51% of consumers said they are more likely to buy a product since becoming a fan on Facebook
78% of consumers who “Like” brands on Facebook said they “Like” fewer than ten brands
Contrary to another study published in February that stated that 81% of consumers have either “unliked” or removed a company’s posts from their Facebook News Feed, this study reports that 76% of consumers said they have never “unliked” a brand on Facebook.
For brands looking to make the biggest impact on Facebook, it is essential to share compelling content, minimize marketing messages and refrain from overwhelming readers with too frequent updates.
View the complete study here: 10 Quick Facts You Should Know About Consumer Behavior on Facebook
Article by Erica Swallow
Originally published by Erica Swallow, Mashable.com.
Digital marketing is gaining traction in a number of industries, and business-to-business (B2B) marketers are in on that trend, too. Increased spending on online marketing is driving companies to try new and innovative means of getting the word out about their products and services — one area that’s getting a lot of buzz with B2B marketers is social media.
The following five case studies lend insight into how B2B marketers can use social media to generate leads, create specialized communities, improve SEO, become knowledge sources, and strengthen marketing campaigns.
Let us know how your brand uses social media for B2B marketing in the comments below.
1. Generate Leads
There are two types of marketing departments — those that are cost centers and those that bring in leads and sales. Generally, the better positioned marketing department is the one that can prove it’s bringing in money, not spending it without results. When adding social media into the mix, marketing departments must be able to prove success, and oftentimes lead generation and ROI are two measurements that upper management wants to see.
Regus, a global provider of workplace solutions, recently experimented with using social media for lead generation. While the Regus brand has a strong presence throughout the world, there was a lack of awareness in the NYC area about the convenient services and business solutions that the company has to offer. Regus chose Affect Strategies, a PR, marketing and social media firm specializing in business-to-business companies, to run their New York campaign.
Affect recommended an integrated campaign that combined social media, online video, an online sweepstakes and in-person events. The team focused on creating communities for NYC professionals, which resulted in a @RegusNYC Twitter feed and a Facebook Page. Along with these social accounts, the “Win an Office” sweepstakes was a great source of leads, as well. Lastly, the team put together New York-specific commercials, which were uploaded to YouTube( ). The one embedded above, for example, currently has more than 33,000 views.
Overall, this highly integrated campaign was a success unlike any other Regus had seen. The campaign increased leads to Regus’ Manhattan locations by 30%, directly resulting in a 114% increase in revenue compared to the same time period in the previous year. Furthermore, there was a 33% percent conversion rate on leads generated through the New York landing page, compared to a 12% conversion rate on 2008. The success of the campaign also prompted Regus to have Affect implement similar campaigns in five additional markets in Q1 of 2010.
Sandra Fathi, president of Affect Strategies, attributes the success to being able to more accurately reach Regus’ target audience through niche communities:
“Social media enables companies to engage directly with their target audiences. In many instances, these audiences self-identify online as interested in specific topics, themes, products and/or services and congregate in groups, message boards or communities. This allows companies to pinpoint their target audiences and engage with them in a meaningful way — providing insights, information, education and support. This type of focus is fertile ground for lead generation and driving revenue for business-to-business marketing.”
The key to success in this case was connecting directly with target audiences in places that Regus hadn’t considered, such as Twitter( ) and Facebook( ). Furthermore, messaging was targeted for a specific region, which spoke volumes to New York professionals in need of offices.
2. Create a Specialized Community
Reaching the correct audience is one of the most important tasks in marketing — otherwise, you’re just wasting resources on the wrong people. When you can’t find the right audience, sometimes the best idea is to create a place for them to flock. That’s what Kinaxis, an Ottawa-based supply-chain software company, did.
Earlier this year Kinaxis won B2B Magazine’s Social Media Award for Best Integrated Campaign for its social media prowess. The company started a blog, participated in LinkedIn( ) and engaged on Twitter. But to kick things up a notch, it built a community for supply chain management specialists to congregate. The Supply Chain Expert Community launched in August 2009 and is home to 3,620 members and counting. For a niche community, that’s a feat.
From 2008 to 2009, Kinaxis saw a 270% increase in web traffic to Kinaxis.com and a 320% increase in conversions (customer leads), as a direct result of introducing the community. From a business momentum perspective, Kinaxis achieved double-digit growth in its software subscription revenue, and for the first half of 2010, as compared to the second half of 2009, it saw the following results:
- 230% increase in community members
- 65.2% increase in web traffic to the community
- 26% increase in web traffic to Kinaxis.com, with the community accounting for about 40% of all new visitors
Kinaxis believes that creating the community allowed them to offer an online destination for professionals to bond over common industry problems and facilitate discussion on ways to solve those problems, which resulted in strengthening customer relationships. The community, along with the 21st Century Supply Chain blog, also enabled the company to increase exposure through social media and improve SEO, as content is shared through its social accounts.
3. Improve SEO
During the past year, Delivra, an e-mail marketing service provider, has invested in B2B social media marketing, including presences on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and a corporate blog, dubbed eMailChatr. Since implementing and maintaining these properties, the company has seen a 70% increase in inbound leads, as compared to the prior year, and its SEO rankings for major keywords have jumped over 20 pages in one year.
In this case, a blog full of useful and targeted content, enhanced by syndication across various social sites and subsequent interactions with its community, led to Delivra increasing SEO and growing a reputation for trusted e-mail marketing advice.
Carissa Newton, Delivra’s director of marketing, recommends that B2B marketers “Be realistic about your goals with social media and blogging — while these outlets can and will drive leads, there are other intangible benefits as well, like the SEO and brand awareness that make a tremendous difference.” She also stresses, “Make sure that whatever you do, it is not with the sole intention to push information out … [T]ake the time to respond and have meaningful conversations. That will increase your following tenfold. It’s just like e-mail marketing: Don’t be a blaster. Be a resource.”
4. Be a Knowledge Source
Chadwick Martin Bailey (CMB), a global, mid-size market research and consulting firm, uses social media to increase its reach within the market research community, demonstrate thought leadership, and increase the likelihood of being found via the Internet( ), according to Josh Mendelsohn, CMB’s VP of marketing.
“In the past nine months alone we have seen huge successes through the combination of blogging, Twitter, Facebook, online press releases, downloadable reports/case studies and Linkedin,” he explained. “The efforts have resulted in huge increases to traffic on our website (142%) and blog (308%) resulting in over 1,400 leads coming in to our sales team.”
Mendelsohn believes that consistency in providing a source of useful resources has been key for the company. “Consistently creating relevant content to your blog, Twitter followers, [and] Facebook fans will help to grow your following,” he says, “but this takes time and commitment. Don’t go it alone. Build a team of regular contributors to contribute on a consistent basis.”
5. Strengthen a Campaign
In some recent cases, SMBs have been known to exclusively use social media as a marketing tool, as costs are low and usually limited to the time spent cultivating an involved community. But in most cases, social media is being used as a supplement to existing marketing efforts. While it’s not advisable to tack on social media to an existing marketing campaign, we recommend developing social media strategies alongside other marketing and communication efforts. This helps organizations maintain consistency in messaging to their communities.
“Make sure that everything is integrated and synchronized,” said Doug Mow, SVP of marketing at Virtusa, a global IT services company. “The social strategy must be part of the online and PR strategy, which, in turn, are part of the integrated marketing strategy. Social is not an isolated activity.”
Virtusa has seen successes with social media, through Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and its blog( ). Mow elaborated:
“As a whole, marketing was asked to generate 50% of the new business pipeline in terms of number of deals and revenue. We exceeded that goal and viewed social as an integral part of our efforts, although we do not feel that the success can be attributed to any one particular activity… Every component of the strategy helped.”
The lesson here is that social media can be a venue for enhancing a business’s current marketing efforts, as long as the intention is to create a harmony between the various arms of marketing. Coordinate your marketing efforts so that each complements the others, and it should be smooth sailing.
These five case studies lend insight into how B2B marketers can use social media to generate leads, create specialized communities, improve SEO, become knowledge sources, and strengthen marketing campaigns.
A new study shows that those who are fans or followers of a brand on Facebook or Twitter, respectively, are significantly more likely to buy products and services or recommend the brand to a friend.
Specifically, the study by Chadwick Martin Bailey and iModerate Research Technologies found that consumers are 67% more likely to buy from the brands they follow on Twitter, and 51% more likely to buy from a brand they follow on Facebook. Moreover, they’re 79% more likely to recommend their Twitter follows to a friend, and 60% more likely to do the same on Facebook:
Of course, those findings might be a bit overstated — many people actively seek out the brands they’re already fans of and follow or fan them on Twitter and Facebook. But there’s still much to be said for the mindshare that engaging those existing brand enthusiasts on social media sites creates, in turn keeping them active. Plus, the study also found that many consumers across a wide variety of demographics have negative perceptions of brands that aren’t using social media.
Overall, the study is another sign that social media is becoming a competitive advantage for those that are participating, and an increasingly major weakness for those that aren’t.