The importance of content marketing has pushed social media to prominence. The popularity of this tactic shows that practices are shifting, displacing the previously most popular use of blogs.

United States: B2B content marketers increasingly use social media

The general state of B2B content marketing in North America is looking up - this type of marketer is spending more, using more tactics, and distributing content on more social networks than before. With the importance of web and media presence, content marketing continues to be a top priority for 91 percent of marketers, as shown by CMI’s report. This year, B2B content marketers used an average of 12 different tactics, social media being the most popular. While blogs were the top content marketing tactic last year, social media (excluding articles) has the highest adoption rate at 87 percent. In 2011, non-article based social media was used to distribute content only by 74 percent of marketers.

The popularity of social media and especially LinkedIn…

With the rise in adoption of social media, distribution choices have shifted. This year B2B marketers use an average of 5 social networks to distribute content. While last year Twitter was the top performer within this tactic, LinkedIn has now the highest adoption level at 83 percent, up from 71 percent in 2011. But respondents do not use Twitter less often - its use rose from 74 percent to 80 percent this year, bringing it to the same level as Facebook (70 percent in 2011). YouTube and Google+ are also popular sites for marketers, and 26 percent of them use Pinterest. LinkedIn’s dominance in this field may be due to its professional association - as B2B marketers tailor their strategy, they may find that more consumer-centric sites like Facebook do not offer them the same benefits.

…Belies a lack of confidence in this marketing tactic

While marketers are adopting social media at the highest rate, they do not judge its effectiveness as confidently as this number would suggest. In fact, social media missed the list of top tactics with 49 percent rating it “effective” or “very effective.” Instead, respondents consider in-person events the most effective tactic that they use at 67 percent, followed by case studies (64 percent) and webinars/webcasts (61 percent). After these top three, blogs, videos and eNewsletters follow. Finally, the study shows that the biggest challenge for B2B content marketers this year is creating enough content, versus creating “engaging” content last year. 

By Ivory King