There’s plenty of opportunity in the digital world, with social media platforms like Vine, Twitter, Instagram, and the old standby Facebook – there’s an endless amount of ways to reach your online audience. And while it’s easy to be discouraged by the vast amount of information and content that already exists on the Internet, I want you to know that your business can still survive (and thrive) in the sea of selfies, #ThrowbackThursdays, and hipster cuisine photos.
This year, Social Media Examiner surveyed over 2,800 marketing and social media professionals, asking which platforms and strategies have worked for them, and what they are looking forward to this year.
The report answers valuable questions – like how much time marketers are spending on social media, the most popular content media, and the current differences between B2B (business to business) marketing strategies versus B2C (business to consumer) marketing strategies.
Instead of making you read all 50 pages (though they are colorful), I’m going to outline the most important take-a-ways:
The value of social media marketing has risen by 6%. A whopping 92% of marketing professionals believe in the importance of utilizing social media to promote business.
This is a game changer. Social media is finally being recognized for its value, as more businesses are migrating to social media. The more the competition, the better for consumers. For marketers, these changes require that we constantly learn and improve our strategies and tactics – and who doesn’t love trying new things?
There’s a new girl in town, and her name is original content blogging. 68% of marketing professionals plan to increase their original written content. If you’re a business looking for a boost, hop on this bandwagon.
The best way to show off your expertise is to write about it. Brag about your knowledge and share it with the world. We’re not asking you to give away family secrets, but just a little something to win over your fans. Sure, hunting down quality content is a skill, but the real stuff lies in what you can create. This new trend will separate the great from the mediocre, and I can’t wait to see who ends up on top.
Facebook remains king of the hill. 90% of marketers are consistently using Facebook and Facebook ads to promote their business or services. In fact, for B2C marketing, 68% of professionals are using it as their primary platform.
Facebook isn’t going away anytime soon, and as long as it continues to offer easy-to-use advertising (and a barrage of cat photos) we aren’t leaving either. Facebook allows us to plant our company, product, or service right in front the people who are most likely to be interested in it. And that is something close to magical.
However, LinkedIn isn’t far behind. For B2B end of things, LinkedIn is the most utilized platform, with 33% of marketers picking it as their first choice.
LinkedIn provides the most stable network for B2B communications. While Facebook has 1.1 billion users, its population is diluted, not to mention being used more for personal and casual communications (like selfies with your dog) than professional networking. LinkedIn, despite its smaller population of 200 million, has provided a strong platform for connecting businesses. Business owners and entrepreneurs have access to upper-level management – something much easier done on the ‘net than in person. Now, the site is rolling out personalization features, proving that LinkedIn will make the adaptations necessary to stay relevant.
ROI still remains as mysterious as an episode of Twilight Zone. Return on investment can be confusing when it comes to social media marketing, and 89% of marketers want to know how to measure it.
We’re in high demand for an easy-to-measure ROI program in the next year. While the marketing-to-money-making relationship may be obvious for some businesses, for many businesses and marketers, it’s a big question. At JP, we’ve discovered a few ways to <effectively measure ROI.>
Marketers spend a lot of time on the interwebs. 64% of marketing professionals use social media for six or more hours per week, while 37% use it for 11 or more hours a week!
This isn’t your mother’s Facebook page – the people who are spending the most time on social media are also the most experienced; however, there’s still plenty of room for other small-time marketers to step up their efforts to implement new strategies and create strong content.
Pinterest isn’t just for planning your wedding anymore. Half of social media professionals plan to use Pinterest for marketing, though it’s much more likely to be used for B2C relations than B2B.
It didn’t always make sense to me, but it certainly does now. Every time I’m on Pinterest, I’m inspired in some way. The photos encourage me to make something, cook something, plan something, be something, or buy something. And creating that desire to do anything is the ultimate goal of marketing. From restaurants to clothing lines and kittens to tablecloths, Pinterest is a visual tool that creates a feeling of desire in others. I really can’t wait to see how Pinterest is utilized over the next few months, and try out Pinterest marketing for some new clients!
Plus has a pulse. Despite being off the radar in past years, Google+ will increase in use in 2014. 61% of businesses plan on using or increasing activities on Google+.
Despite its low population, Google+ offers something that few other networks can – SEO. With features like Google Authorship, URL customization, SEO Meta Descriptions and integration with Google Analytics, Plus provides a clean platform for creating (and monitoring) engagement – something every marketing professional is looking for. We hope you’re focused on this – as it’s part of solving that ROI Nancy Drew mystery.
Hit play. 73% of marketers plan to increase their use of video marketing in 2014, and all of them plan on including the use of original content.
Between Vine and Instagram video, I can see why. No longer do businesses and corporations have to directly advertise a physical item; rather, they can establish a personality through figureheads. I personally think an Instagram account on behalf of the Purina Beggin’ dog would be hilarious (and one I would follow).
Get excited! The evolution of social media marketing is upon us. Now you’ve seen some of my favorite (and most valuable) lessons from SM Examiner’s 2014 report.
Can’t get enough? Download the full report here.