Social Media Industry Report
The report is a little dense, but I encourage you to read it and the supporting graphs from a survey of over 3000 marketers who discussed their experiences and plans regarding social media marketing.
Because Social Media Examiner does the report every year, not only is the report interesting by itself, it’s useful to compare results across the last 3-4 years to see what’s happening in social media.
Based on my reading of the report, I have the following recommendations for businesses trying to increase the effectiveness of their social media marketing programs:
Should I Add Social Media Marketing?
Overwhelmingly, businesses agree social media marketing provides benefits, even if translating those benefits into measurable ROI is challenging. Of course, I’ve long argued that directly measuring ROI is nonsense because social media is designed to create brand awareness, positive sentiment, and brand loyalty rather than sales. Now, we know for 80 years of research (conducted by highly skilled academics and peer-reviewed to ensure the results are accurate) supporting the substantial impact of these factors on ROI.
Of course, that doesn’t mean you can’t impute ROI from social media metrics by regressing metrics against sales and prove to yourself the value of social media. This makes evaluating the impact of social media on ROI more accurate than traditional advertising where you simply ask customers where they saw your ad.
Time Commitment for Social Media
The survey IMPLIES that successful social media marketing takes a significant amount of time. The study shows that the longer a firm used social media marketing, the more time they devote to creating engagement on social platforms. Finding a correlation between social media time committment and performance (ie. sales, leads, inquiries, etc) would prove this relationship, but we don’t have that data.
Be aware, based on survey results, doing social media marketing will take a significant amount of time/ week and that committment varies depending on factors such as sales volume, target market, and industry.
Most firms don’t outsource their social media marketing and this is a potential problem. Think about it. Even a small firm should expect to devote about 10 hours a week to social media marketing — which is too much to add to the responsibilities of another employee, but not enough to justify hiring an employee. So, outsourcing makes financial sense just like it makes sense to use a CPA firm rather than hiring an accountant.
Plus, social media marketing is a specialized skill requiring specialized knowledge and experience in marketing, graphics, Web 2.0, videography, analytical skills, strategy experience, and possibly other skills, too. You don’t expect an employee to handle your legal affairs, do your books, and design your new product, so why would you expect 1 employee to have all these skills.
At Hausman and Associates, I can only do all these things only because I hire specialized individuals for each task. I couldn’t do all this myself. So, find yourself a great social media agency to help build and implement your social media marketing strategy.
Social Media Tools
Businesses added Pinterest and Google+ to their list of social media tools this year. But, firms are not using blogging enough — with only 61% using a blog, fewer than are using Facebook (#1), Twitter (#2), and LinkedIn (#3). Now, maybe firms don’t think a blog is necessary, but they’re dead wrong and you can read why is my recent post.
So, add a blog to your website and watch your traffic (and conversions) soar. You see in the survey data, firms with more experience make greater use of blogs.
Also, it doesn’t seem like enough businesses are using YouTube, which is unfortunate. Video is huge for consumers and likely becoming more influential over time, not less. So, work on creating and distributing video content as part of your social media marketing strategy.