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Social Initiatives: B2B vs. B2C

B2Bs less experienced but more active

Both business-to-consumer (B2C) and business-to-business (B2B) companies are rapidly adopting social media, unable to ignore a major destination of Internet users. According to research from Business.com, however, the two types of firms have different social site usage patterns for business purposes.

The “2009 B2B Social Media Benchmarking Study” found that those B2B companies already using social media were much more active in the space than their B2C counterparts, especially when it came to microblogging, participating in discussions on third-party sites, blogging and monitoring company mentions on various social media. B2Cs were ahead in a few areas: social media advertising, user ratings and reviews, and online communities for customers and prospects.

Not only were B2B firms more likely overall to maintain a social network profile, they were managing profiles across more social sites and were significantly more likely to be present on Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube. B2C companies won the day at Facebook and MySpace.

B2B social media users were more active in measuring most social success metrics as well. Although B2C companies were slightly more likely than B2B firms to use revenues to gauge their efforts, more B2Bs were looking at Web traffic, brand awareness, and prospect lead quality and volume. Web traffic was the top metric for both types of company, however.

Six in 10 B2B respondents used Twitter search to monitor mentions of their company or brand, compared with just 35% of B2Cs. The difference in usage of Google Alerts was slightly smaller, at 59% of B2Bs versus 40% of B2Cs. Consumer-oriented firms were most likely to keep tabs on mentions via Google search, at 61%, just edging out B2B companies, 60% of which googled themselves for this purpose.

Keep up on the latest digital trends. Learn more about an eMarketer Total Access subscription, today.

Check out today’s other article, “Building Customer Relationships with Kraft.”

Look out next week for eMarketer analysts giving their perspective on the trends in 2010.

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