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Top 5 Reasons That Drive CEOs Toward Social Media and Why These Matter To Your B2B Marketing

Around 57% of CEOs think social media will play an increasingly important role in their business over the next 3-5 years. This is according to IBM’s Global CEO Study which surveyed over 1,000 chief executives more than 60 countries. Accordingly, B2B marketers must go beyond this headline numbers and examine the reasons beneath such a trend in order to help them make more informed decisions in terms of lead generation, contact list building, branding, ads, etc.

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CEO Contact List: Top 5 catalysts cited by CEOs in their decision to go social.

1. Building Brand Recognition.
Brand recognition remains the number-one consideration among CEOs to engage in social networking. According to the 2012 Social Media Marketing Industry Report, a significant 85% of marketers rated having an increased business exposure as the top benefit of social media marketing. Furthermore, around 20% of CEOs included in IBM’s Global CEO Study pointed to social media as one of the means to strategically place their branding message and project their company identity.

2. Better Insight on Customers.
The participants in the Global CEO Study who considered social media a vital part of their activities also noted that generating better insights about customers through this channel is a key factor. This isn’t hard to see since the average internet user spend 3 times more minutes on blogs and social sites than on any other channel, making purchasing behavior and preferences a bit easier to keep track of.

3. Source of Branding Ideas.
Generic social media is an excellent source of branding ideas with a diverse pool of insights waiting to be tapped. This is due to the fact that social media users have more than quadrupled since 2006 and are now comprised of geographically- and demographically-varied constituents. However, a particular variety of the social media experience is better suited for brand formation. Enterprise social networking platforms are seen to improve crowdsourcing ideas from employees of an organization and other companies in a sort of free-for-all, no-holds-barred brand brainstorming.

4. Extremely Cost-Effective.
Collectively, conventional social media platforms are 45% cheaper than the average marketing costs. It’s also relatively effective since around half of marketers using the three major social sites generate leads there. In fact, you’ll surely get better results in building your contact list if you have well-placed invitations at social sites. For CEOs, enterprise social media platforms are ideal choices. Forrester Consulting reported that Yammer, a popular enterprise social software, had shows an ROI of 365% and a payback period of 4.3 months.

5. Improved Employee Collaboration.
In 2011, Gallup noted that 71% of US employees felt disengaged from their jobs. As such, CEOs are looking to improve employee engagement through social media by improving collaboration at all levels. In fact, the Global CEO Study showed that 84% of CEOs say collaboration was key to employee success and is largely attributable to enterprise social media platforms like Tibbr, Yammer, and Huddle.

Why Should These Reasons Matter To You?
As a B2B marketer, you’re quite aware that CEOs and the C-suite are the gatekeepers of corporate accounts. But other than brining in increased business or growing your CEO contact list, chief executives are also excellent sources of business insights that you can apply to your own organization. In addition, whether you’re targeting CEOs through social media or finding other uses for this channel, it’s important to know that social media should be a means to carry out a marketing strategy and not the end.