Facebook and LinkedIn may continue to reign as the top social channels for B2B firms, but a majority of 65 per cent are now also making use of photo-sharing service Instagram, according to a study released late last week.
The 2019 Social Media Marketing Industry Report, published by the Social Media Examiner, is based on a survey of more than 4,800 participants, about 36 per cent of whom work for B2B firms. The results were broken out along sectors that differentiated enterprise marketers from their B2C peers.
Despite its consumer-oriented nature, the vast majority of B2B marketers, or 91 per cent, cited Facebook as their most commonly used platform. This was followed by LinkedIn at 80 per cent and Twitter at 67 per cent. Close behind, however, was Instagram, which was cited by 57 per cent in 2018 but is now commonly used by 66 percent.
“Instagram is hot,” the report’s author noted in his introduction. “It’s the second most important social platform for marketing (behind Facebook) and surpassed LinkedIn for the first time (among all marketers).”
The pivot towards Instagram brings it nearly to the level of interest B2B marketers see in the organic use of LinkedIn, which has been encouraging users to create thought leadership style posts and, most recently, native and live video. Seventy per cent of B2B firms will be increasing organic LinkedIn use, the survey said. About the same number, or 71 per cent, said they were also interested in learning more about LinkedIn, but nearly as many, or 65 per cent, said the same thing about Instagram among the study’s B2B sample.
From a paid media perspective, meanwhile, 68 per cent of B2B marketers said they wanted to learn more about Facebook ads, followed by LinkedIn at 64 per cent. Here too, however, Instgram was a close contender among B2B marketers, 57 per cent of whom said they wanted to know how they could use their budget effectively on the platform.
A recent post on Social Media Today gathered a number of comments from B2B marketers who are already using Instagram or growing their usage, although the goals are varied.
“Brand awareness is a huge one. If this is all you are using Instagram for, ROI might be dificult to measure but a strong content and engagement strategy on Instagram can go a long way in reaching this goal,” the post said. “Many B2B brands turn to social media as a referral channel for website traffic. Instagram is no exception; especially now that Stories and Highlights exist on the platform.”
That said, the Social Media Examiner study showed that only 32 per cent of B2B firms are using things like the Stories feature on Instagram today, indicating a possible area to focus their organic activities over the next year. The full report is available as a free download until the end of this month.
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