Usage, barriers and measurement of social media marketing: An exploratory investigation of small and medium B2B brands
Previous research has established the benefits of branding for business-to-business (B2B) organizations. Various tools can be used to support B2B brands, including the internet and other interactive technologies. Yet research on how organizations use Social Networking Sites (SNS) to achieve brand objectives remains limited. This study addresses the gap by focusing on B2B SMEs and their social networking practices, particularly, usage, perceived barriers, and the measurement of effectiveness of SNS as a marketing tool. Findings from a mail survey show that over a quarter of B2B SMEs in the UK are currently using SNS to achieve brand objectives, the most popular of which is to attract new customers. On the other hand, the most significant barrier is the lack of perceived relevance for particular sectors. Notably, the overwhelming majority of users do not adopt any metrics to assess SNS effectiveness. Almost half of the sample of SMEs that currently use SNS have indicated their intention to increase their marketing spending on this channel, highlighting the growing importance of SNS in a B2B context.