LinkedIn, Facebook, XING and Co. are no longer a nice-to-have but a must-have for B2B marketers. They are an elementary component of digital communication, which has gained momentum especially during and after Corona. Additionally, they are now at the centre of strategy plans for B2B companies. The Social Media Study in B2B Communication which outlines the workings of Social Media in B2B-communication, covers the growth and developments in the use of social media in B2B within the DACH region. Here are the central findings:
LinkedIn remains the leader and continues to grow:
Like last year, LinkedIn remains the most popular social media channel in B2B marketing.
Compared to 2019, the social business network in Germany has increased by 9.1%. In Austria and Switzerland, there is no way around it either, with over 80% of B2Bers relying on this medium. The countries are also in agreement in the race for second place: Facebook which reaches 67% in Germany and Switzerland, and over 75% in Austria. After that, the DACH region is divided: XING and YouTube are still included in the Top 5, but opinions are divided on Twitter. German B2B companies, for example, rely more on Instagram than on Twitter.
Surprise: In Germany, Twitter is losing its place among the top 5 most popular social media channels. Instagram takes over with 50.5 %.
Image source: 1.the workings of Social Media in B2B-communication
If one addresses the question of “Why?” or “For what purpose?” in relation to social media use, the main arguments include addressing new and existing customers and recruiting. Here, a strong distinction is made between the networks: While Xing is largely used for recruiting, LinkedIn has developed into an exchange and marketing channel. Influencers are now mainly addressed via Instagram.
This distribution is also reflected in the choice of communication media: In general, the trend of previous years towards self-produced and also moving content is clearly continuing. LinkedIn is preferred for advertising professional content such as technical articles, studies, white papers, etc., followed by Xing. On Facebook, visual material is clearly in the lead, as is Instagram.
Challenges for 2021:
What about the future of Social Media? What has occured since 2012? Since companies still see the biggest problems as the high expenditure of time and too few resources, these points need to be addressed.
How does that work? By increasing budgets, hiring expert staff and sensitising your own employees to social media. In this way, employees can be set up as beacons for social media, which is the main focus of this year’s survey. Looking at all the other to-dos for 2021, there is only one conclusion: B2B companies want to take their social media communication to the next level. Whether you want to hire social media managers, have experts at your side or plan to build up your own company with your employees, the will for a more professional approach is clearly visible
In conclusion, the following can be said:
Since more than 95% of the German companies surveyed state that they use social media for their communication, social networks are established almost everywhere as a communication tool. Even though there are shifts in usage here and there, B2B companies have recognized how important it is to position themselves professionally in this area. “B2B companies increasingly rely on authentic image and moving image formats and involve their employees more strongly – both internally and externally. Closeness and transparency are the keywords for successful social media communication. Our B2B Social Media Study 2020 clearly shows this this year – scientifically supported and practically oriented,” explains Katharina Barth, project manager of the Study 2020. Whether and how this commitment will develop in the coming years remains exciting. As a partner of the study, we are already looking forward to the findings from 2021!
About the study:
From July to August 2020, 701 B2B companies from Germany, Austria and Switzerland were surveyed for the study. Initiator of the study was the 1. Arbeitskreis Social Media in der B2B-Kommunikation, which had numerous partners at its side. One of them was us, the B2B Media Group.
Background of the 1. Arbeitskreis Social Media in der B2B Unternehmenskommunikation
In the summer of 2010, the “1. Arbeitskreis Social Media in der B2B-Kommunikation” was founded by Jacqueline Althaller, founder of the ALTHALLER communication agency of the same name, in order to answer concrete questions from B2B sites and to pass on this knowledge. The working group conducts surveys to determine trends and developments. Among the initiators belong enterprises of most different industries and sizes – from IT to Healthcare. The working group is accompanied by representatives from science and research. The working group does not pursue economic interests.