How is social media used in the business decision making process?

With its popularity and fast paced growth, social media isn’t going anywhere. Almost all of us use it on one platform or another and it influences us in many ways; could this be transferred to influencing us in our business decisions too? With an increasing number of B2B businesses using social media platforms, it is a possibility that we could soon turn to these to make those all important decisions instead.

We recently carried out a survey to investigate how social media is currently being used in the business decision making process. As a company we are quite active on social media and use our various profiles to inform our customers and followers. We aim to be informative and innovative in the information that we share; but of course there is no way to measure the direct affect we have upon our followers.

It was therefore interesting to ask those that were surveyed whether they themselves used social media in their business decision making process – specifically within IT. Surprisingly 28% of them do, which was promising in terms of our continual social marketing efforts. According to recent research by IDG Connect this figure is set to grow exponentially over the new couple of years too – social media platforms really will be a starting point for businesses and C-level staff to research, investigate and decide upon what they need.

A statistic from this research that I found surprising however was that of all the social media platforms used for this decision making; Facebook came out top with 45%. This is possibly due to the availability of group communities and the lack of a word limit within this platform. These benefits mean that users can hold discussions amongst each other and businesses can create informative content that is useful for readers on their own pages. Twitter held a 16% stake in influencing buyers, and the ill-fated Google+ influences 22% of users.

Of course choosing the right platform is just half the battle. For businesses to set up a profile on any of these social media websites is not enough. They also need to be creating informative content and engaging with their community too. In fact, 21% of people will follow a B2B account for informative content – whether that by blog or other means. This shows that people want to be educated, particularly by those in the know. This also goes someway to showing how social media can influence a company’s followers and customers.

However, as with any platform there is one thing in common followers are keen to see – the promotion of deals and offers. In fact 40% of those surveyed admit that this would be the key reason to encourage them to follow a B2B account. So, with this in mind businesses could look to attract their customers in with a deal and then from that point inform and support them in their future business decisions. It looks like it could be a sensible investment.

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