social media

Social media has revolutionized the way we communicate, the way we keep in touch and the way we reconnect.

But there is one place where the usefulness of Social Media has been slow to gain traction: in business.

In 2014-2015 this is changing.

Many executives used to see social media as a ‘cute’ social tool, regarding such sites as unwelcome distractions for their employees whilst they were ‘on company time’. Some businesses restricted or even blocked employees’ access to sites like Facebook. Others though – such as chartered accountants Deloitte – recognised the value in accessing their employees networks from, for example, a recruiting or marketing and communications perspective.

In 2014-15 we are seeing businesses begin to turn social conversations into commercial conversations. How effectively they achieve this will be key to future growth.


Social Media is one of the 10 trends discussed in our 2014-15 Trends Report.

Download the full 2014-15 trends report here: 10 trends that are changing our world (PDF)


Whilst executives have viewed social media as a ‘cute’ social tool, they haven’t seen the imperative to incorporate these new technologies into their business strategy. It is flawed thinking to wait until such stage as you can see a compelling ROI on social media expenditure before incorporating such a strategy. By that stage the fickle 21st century consumer may have switched brand loyalty to a competitor who has already started a conversation with them. Social media provides a new low-cost channel by which a business or organisation can engage with existing and prospective customers – a chance to build and nurture a relationship.

This is a key point. It is important to recognise that businesses can use social media as a profile building and relationship building tool – you don’t have to make a sale at the first interaction.

Another big change is the increased use of social media as a B2B tool – businesses using social media to connect with other businesses.


In February 2013, Sylvia Jensen, the Director of Europe Middle East and Africa (EMEA) Marketing at Eloqua Marketing conducted a comprehensive survey of social media usage by business. These were her key findings:

Social Media as a Marketing Tool

Only 64% of the UK companies surveyed use social media as a marketing tool, meaning that over a third (36%) do not. Within those companies, the PR/communications department is most often responsible for the social media strategy and output (in 26% of cases).

Interestingly, the next most common arrangement is for social media to be shared across different departments (23%), while only 11% of companies’ leave social media management to the web team.

Companies cited three top reasons for using social media: creating brand awareness (83%), encouraging social sharing (56%) and gaining trust and followers (55%). Under one third (32%) said they use it for lead generation, while only 16% use social media to assess market perception of their brand.

The Most Popular Social Networks

B2B marketers clearly favour the ‘big three’ social networks as marketing tools. Of those who use social media for demand generation; 80% use Facebook, 78% use Twitter and 51% use LinkedIn. LinkedIn, ‘professional social network,’ trails behind despite figures suggesting that it is almost 300% more effective than Facebook and Twitter for lead generation.

Demand and Lead Generation

Over half of B2B companies are not tapping into social media’s potential as a lead generation tool. When asked “Is your company using social media for demand generation?”, only 35% of respondents said yes. No was the answer from 53%, while 12% were unsure.

Most companies (43%) admit they have no strategy in place for incorporating social media into demand generation. A third were unclear of the value, while 18% said a lack of tools prevented them from using social media for lead generation.

Is the Future Social for B2B Marketers?

The study indicates that B2B marketers are planning to use social media marketing increasingly. Three quarters of the sample indicated ways their company plans to use it in the future: “to better understand market perception” as the leading goal (17%).

Marketers expect to see benefits from using social media to generate demand, including increased reach and brand awareness (50%), driving inbound leads to increase revenue (35%) and measurable impact on demand or revenue (28%).


Social Media is one of the 10 trends discussed in our 2014-15 Trends Report.

Download the full 2014-15 trends report here: 10 trends that are changing our world (PDF)