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New report shows the state of B2B social media

Author's avatar By Robert Allen 28 Jul, 2016
Essential Essential topic

Essential lessons from the top B2B brands across different verticals

Trackmaven analysed the social media content from 316 leading B2B brands on the 5 largest social networks over the past 12 months, so you can benchmark your own B2B social media efforts against some of the best in the industry. If you work in B2C rather than B2B you can read our write up on the B2C social media report instead.

B2C Social Media audience size by industry

There are big differences between industries when it comes to audience size, but in large part these are probably explained by how well the industries are suited to social media . Professional services does so well because although it's B2B it is offering a product (jobs) which a massive number of people are going to be interested in. There are always going to be more people wanting to look at jobs postings than there are people interested in buying aerospace and defence equipment (well let's hope so anyway!).


Where this graph is really interesting is in follower breakdowns by platform. These can help inform your 2016 social marketing plan by giving key platforms to concentrate on. It is clear that LinkedIn dominates the B2B marketing sector in most industry types, although Facebook does better than LinkedIn in some verticals . Twitter is doing fairly well in some sectors but not so well in others, and makes up a relatively small percentage of B2B followers overall. Instagram is currently a small player in B2B, but is growing quickly and although it's barely present in some sectors it is growing fast in computer hardware and professional services.

B2B social media engagement

The rather complicated looking chart below plots average interactions per post on the x-axis, and follower growth in percentage terms on the y-axis. Essential the further to top right-hand corner the better, as that means your engagement is high and your following is growing fast. Machinery, Engineering and biotech exist in this sweet spot, and the figure of 100% follower growth for these verticals shows just to keep up with the competition in social in those industries you need to be at least doubling your following every 12 months.

social-media-landscape b2b engagement

Interestingly the growth rates are fairly high all round. The lowest of any was motor vehicles, and even they achieved a healthy 35% annual growth. The IT industry clearly has to address it's problem with engagement though. Even though its follower growth is robust, they are getting only 1/5th of the engagement that financial services gets. Often total follower numbers are a bit of a vanity metric, and don't bear that much relation to how many followers you can actually reach with your messaging. Paying close attention to engagement rates is a good idea for all B2B brands. The only industry where you might not want to prioritise engagement too highly is professional services, as people might not want to engage with job postings and recruitment firms lest it seem to their current employers that they are considering a move.

For industry specific breakdowns of the latest B2C social media marketing stats, download the latest report from TrackMaven.

If you're looking for insights on consumer engagement with social media see our Social network consumer adoption research summary.

Author's avatar

By Robert Allen

Rob Allen is Marketing Manager for Numiko, a digital agency that design and build websites for purpose driven organisations, such as the Science Museum Group, Cancer Research UK, University of London and the Electoral Commission. Rob was blog editor at Smart Insights from 2015-2017. You can follow Rob on LinkedIn.

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