Social Media Examiner released their 2014 Social Media Marketing Industry Report that surveyed over 2,800 marketers in order to understand how they are using social media to grow and promote their businesses. This post will share the highlights from the report.
Hopefully these results and analysis will help you to increase your impact on social media and improve your overall online marketing program. You may be surprised by some of the results.
Social media is important for business
According to the survey, 92% of marketers indicated social media is important for their business and 68% of marketers plan on increasing their use of blogging. Another trend we saw was that podcasting is on the rise and 21% plan to increase their podcasting activities.
Facebook and LinkedIn were the two most important social networks for marketers. But only 43% of marketers feel like their Facebook efforts are working. We think that this is because it’s hard for marketers to see the ROI from Facebook, but that doesn’t mean it’s not important. Facebook is a great avenue to show your company’s personality and company culture. It can also give your company personality apart from your website that is business focused.
The benefits of social media marketing
The study showed that the top two perceived benefits of social media were increased exposure and increased website traffic. And 80% of respondents reported positive results. Eight-four percent of participants found that increased traffic occurred with as little as 6 hours per week invested in social media.
More than half of marketers who’ve been using social media for at least 3 years have seen it help them improve sales. However, 50% of all marketers in the survey had not seen social media marketing help them with improving sales. This shows that it takes time to build a presence and audience on social media. It also could have been because the companies lacked the tools to track sales.
Another benefit from social media was a gain in partnerships. More than half of marketers who’ve invested at least one year in social media reported that new partnerships were gained. In addition, 66% of marketers spending as little as 6 hours per work in social media saw lead generation benefits.
Marketers also saw improved search engine rankings from social media. This was especially true for marketers that had been using social media for one year or longer with 58% reporting a rise. This further proves that it’s important to commit to social media for the long term. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. While you might not see dramatic results right away, after a year of consistent posting, you should begin to see results if you are posting quality, targeted content for your audience.
Social Platforms to Use
Those just getting started with social media selected Facebook as their number-one choice, followed by Twitter and LinkedIn. While the more experienced social media marketers are on those three platforms, they were using more platforms consistently and had a higher focus on content creation (i.e. YouTube, blogging and podcasting).
When asked to choose the single most important social platform, 54% of marketers chose Facebook as the most important platform, followed by LinkedIn (17%), Twitter (12%) and then blogging (8%). When comparing B2B and B2C in choosing the most important social network, Facebook (68%) dominated in the B2C space while LinkedIn (33%) passed Facebook (31%) for B2B marketers.
Importance of original content
More than half of marketers (58%) selected original written content as their most important kind of content, followed by original visual assets (19%) and then original videos (12%). In addition, B2B marketers placed even more importance on original written content (65% compared to 52% of B2C marketers).
When looking to the next year, 81% of marketers plan to increase their use of original written content and 73% plan to increase their use of original videos. Marketers also want to learn more about creating original visual assets such as infographics, which are gaining popularity in the social media world.
The survey also asked about outsourcing. Surprisingly, the percentage of marketers that are outsourcing their social media has been steady over the past few years, staying around 30%. The two areas that marketers are outsourcing the most is design/development and content creation.
Sixty-eight percent of marketers plan to increase their use of blogging in the next year. They also plan to increase their use of YouTube (67%), Twitter (67%), LinkedIn (64%) and Facebook (64%).
Google+ has been a much-debated social platform for some time, but 61% of marketers plan to increase their Google+ activity in the coming year. However, about 1 in 5 marketers do not plan to use Google+ at all.
Interestingly, even though only 6% of marketers currently use podcasting, a significant 21% plan to get involved more with it this year, which is a three-fold increase. This is likely fueled by the global adoption of smartphones, Apple’s introduction of CarPlay and major auto manufacturers opening up the dashboard to third-party apps.
This survey shows how content marketing and social media marketing are important components of a marketing strategy. Marketers are using Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn as the top platforms and looking to continue to create original content.