Study: Social Media Affects SMB Purchasing Decisions

Kirsten Knipp
Kirsten Knipp



Many people still think that the heaviest users of social media skew young.  Myth.  In fact, according to a recent analysis completed by Pingdom , the average social media user is 35-44 years old.  It turns out that this demographic of decision makers is online looking for information about products and services giving B2B tech marketers a compelling reason to pursue online word of mouth as a key component of their go to market strategy.

New Study of SMB Technology Buyers

A recent study by the SMB Group gathered data from 475 respondents working at companies with less than 1,000 employees.  The questions examined how the Internet, social media, marketplaces, the generational shift and other trends are reshaping the way SMBs buy products and solutions and the implications on B2B vendors in these markets. 

When asked ' Whose advice do you seek for guidance when evaluating software and service technology solutions for your business? ' the responses yielded these results.

B2B Info Sources by Age resized 600

Older Buyers DO Rely on Social Media

One of the most interesting results was the relatively small digital divide exhibited by respondents under 35 years old vs those over.  One might expect that the over 35 set doesn’t use social media for business, if they use it at all.  But in fact, more than 40% of respondents between ages 35-50 use social media for research on technology business purchases while 30% plus of the over 50 age group take advantage of social as a key information source.

Additionally, the older group who rely somewhat less on social media don’t turn to sources of marketing information or expert channels.  They rely on good old word of mouth … the kind that existed before social media. 

Customer Evangelism, Digital or Physical, Trumps

Though people’s trust in networks has decreased, as uncovered by Edelman’s Trust Barometer , this study shows that people still trust their peers and friends most when it comes to advice about products and services, whether they are for personal or business use. That means digital word of mouth and customer evangelism may be one of your best sources of leads and customers.

What are you doing to empower your customers to be your evangelists?

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