The 2013 Social Media Marketing Report was published recently. It makes interesting reading for anyone trying to promote their business. In this post, I draw out the most interesting and relevant results for me as an SEO copywriter and someone who helps her clients use social media to good effect.
The main messages are that:
Social media use is still on the rise, and going to continue to increase.
A few big social media platforms are dominating and pushing out their smaller rivals.
If you don’t use social media, you need to get on board. If you do use social media, you need to use it better.
If you are not using social media, you are Billy No Mates.
Of 3000 marketers surveyed, 97% use social media in one form or another. More than half of these had only just started – using it for 12 months or less – and there were considerable differences in the approaches used (and benefits enjoyed) by those with experience compared to those who were very new.
Almost everyone thinks they should do it, but many don’t know what “it” is.
The majority of respondents (86%) felt that social media is important. Engaging with people is a vital step along the way to turning them into customers and social media marketing is a much cheaper way of doing this than traditional marketing methods. 89% said that social media increased their exposure and that the engagement and loyalty it builds led to increased sales.
More and more businesses are starting to realise that they need a social media strategy. Almost all of them wanted to learn more about the tactics and tools available. It is not surprising if they felt slightly bewildered by the array of social media platforms available – however, it is clear that the people who know what they are doing concentrate on just a few choice platforms.
Social media should be a significant part of your marketing effort
Nearly two-thirds (63%) of these marketers spent more than six hours a week on social media, and 17% spent more than 20 hours a week! The larger the business and the younger the respondent, the more time they spent, which is not surprising. What is more interesting is that the more experienced marketers spent longer than those with less experience. Clearly, the people who have been doing it longer realise that it is worth the effort.
Facebook dominates social media, but its impact is less clear
Facebook and LinkedIn are most important platforms for marketers, but two-thirds are not sure if their Facebook efforts are worth it. It seemed much more satisfactory for b2c businesses than for b2b. In fact, measuring the ROI in social media is a challenge for most of them. People new to social media cited Facebook as the focus of their activity, but people with four or more years’ experience spread their efforts more evenly across Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Blogging, Google+ and Pinterest. Blogging is seen as increasingly important by the more experienced marketers and is likely to increase over the next year.
Other social media changes we will see in the coming year
Just over half of the respondents already have blogs, and the majority of them want to learn how to or want to increase the amount of blogging they do.
Youtube is a target activity for many and although there is a tiny amount of podcasting at the moment, a quarter of the replies said they plan to try this in 2013 and a further third wanted to find out more about it.
As for Google+, a small majority of people plan to increase their use of it, but a lower proportion than said the same last year. Sixty-two per cent said they wanted to know more about it though, so it is clearly something that is well into people’s consciousness. The full power of Google+ will become more apparent as the +local searches start to come through. Men showed more interest in using Google+ than women, who were more interested in Pinterest, which may relate to the more visual appeal of the latter – reinforcing the message that a picture is a strong communication tool.
Social media is no longer an optional extra
Without doubt, social media is now a necessity for businesses. It needs to be a definite part of your marketing strategy, not a bolt-on or a ‘nice-to-have’. It is time consuming and needs to be carefully planned to achieve the maximum exposure without drowning people with messages.
Joanna is an SEO copywriter and web content creator who knows how to use social media to promote her own, and her clients’, businesses. Just ask her for advice on how you can improve your own social media efforts.