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The most influential B2B brands on social media

There used to be a debate about whether social media was relevant in B2B. Just four years ago, less than one quarter (23%) of B2B marketers described it as ‘highly relevant’ to their brand (source: B2B Barometer). Now, those holding out against the social tidal wave are few and far between. Indeed, many B2B brands are social media pioneers.

Lithium Technologies recently published Klout 50 study is testament to this. The study ranks the 50 most influential brands on social media (whilst the ranking approach arguably isn't perfect, it's still an interesting exercise).

As you’d expect the list includes big-hitters from the consumer world. Brands like Coca-Cola, McDonalds and Nike. But more surprising is how many B2B brands are featured. Nineteen of the 50 brands listed have a significant or exclusive B2B focus to their business*.

So the tables have turned. Not too long ago we B2B-ers were playing social media catch up with our consumer marketing cousins.  Now we're leading the way.

B2B brands featured in the Klout 50 list are:

  1. Microsoft (2nd in the Klout 50)
  2. Google (4th)
  3. Intel (6th)
  4. HP (12th)
  5. Thomson Reuters (15th)
  6. General Electric (16th)
  7. Adobe (22nd)
  8. Nokia (23rd)
  9. Goldman Sachs (24th)
  10. Shell (29th)
  11. SAP (31st)
  12. American Express (32nd)
  13. MasterCard (34th)
  14. Oracle (35th)
  15. Morgan Stanley (37th)
  16. Accenture (39th)
  17. Caterpillar (40th)
  18. 3M (41st)
  19. John Deere (42nd)

Andrew is a columist for B2B Marketing and tweets at @circle_research

* Strictly speaking some brands, notably Facebook, could qualify as B2B because they derive the majority of income from sales to other businesses (advertising in Facebook’s case). However, where a brand is in essence consumer facing, it has been excluded