7 Actionable Social Media Insights To Make You Competitive
Almost one out of two marketers believe Facebook is the most important social media platform to achieve their business objectives. Despite this, they acknowledge the need to use a mix of social media sites to maximize their results.
To understand where marketers plan to invest money and resources, examine what they want to know about social media, especially as we approach the middle of the year and budget season. From a business perspective, this is important to ensure that your organization is positioned to compete and succeed, and to help you fill the gaps in your social media strategy.
Based on Social Media Examiner’s 2013 State of Social Media Report, here’s how marketers rank fourteen social media platforms. Look at these results closely and you’ll see that there’s not a significant difference between some of these platforms.
1. Blogging tops marketers’ list for social media platforms about which they want more information. It’s no surprise since a blog acts as your social media home base and is at the heart of your content marketing. Further, it suports your search optimization efforts. While anyone can go onto a free blogging platform and start a blog, it takes tailored effort around the five Ps of blogging: plan, pen, publish, promote and participate, to craft a blog that yields measurable results. Actionable Social Media Insight: Publish high quality information your audience finds useful at least twice a week. At a loss for words? Answer customer questions. The biggest challenge for businesses is keeping the blog going over time.
2. Google+ is a close second after blogging, attributable to its relative infancy as a social media platform. Of more greater importance to marketers is its ownership by Google and assumed impact on search results. Despite this, Google+ still tends to rank lower on marketers’ current social media hierarchy because it’s still unproven for most marketers. Actionable Social Media Insight: Build your Google+ presence and actively participate on a regular basis. Test out its newer features. (Hey even Joe Biden held a Google+ hangout.)
3. Facebook ranks third despite being top of most marketers’ social media mix. This is attributable to Facebook’s evolving marketing offering that requires continual attention and testing by marketers. Actionable Social Media Insight: Test extending your Facebook reach with the use of targeted advertising. (Check out Jon Loomer’s blog focused on Facebook for additional tips.)
4. LinkedIn tends to rank higher among B2B marketers than B2C marketers, but ignore this business-oriented social media platform at your peril. Small businesses love it for its low-cost effectiveness as a hiring tool. Also, don’t overlook it’s sister site, SlideShare. It’s not just presentations. Actionable Social Media Insight: Participate regularly on LinkedIn, not just when you need to hire someone or when you lose your job. Curate and share useful information. Also, join relevant groups. (Follow Neal Schaffer of Windmill Marketing for up-to-date tips.)
5. YouTube, owned by Google, ranks fifth. Many marketers overlook the power of YouTube as a social media entity because it’s often considered a video site. While that’s true, it’s also the second largest social media site and search engine. Further, as a source of video, it’s content users seek. While video can be expensive for businesses to create, consider how to incorporate video creation into your content marketing strategy so that it’s part of your existing effort such as advertising development or conference presentation. Actionable Social Media Insight: Start with a minimum of five videos since, if viewers like your video, then they want to see more. Make sure that you optimize your videos for search. If you can’t afford expensive videos, figure out how you can create content on the cheap. Use Orabrush and Blendtec as examples. (Check out Greg Jarboe’s YouTube and Video Marketing)
6. Twitter surprisingly clocks in at number six on the list of social media entities about which marketers want to learn. While a part of many marketers’ current social media mix, they feel that the platform doesn’t require the level of experience or content. That said, Twitter is a challenge for businesses since the messages are fleeting in nature and building an effective Twitter following and community takes more time and interaction than businesses assume. Actionable Social Media Insight: Participate on a regular basis. Ideally curate information at least a few times a day. Where relevant, get active in a Twitter chat.
7. Pinterest, from a marketing perspective, has usurped the traditional role of magazines in terms of being the place customers turn to get ideas about products. Pinterest’s images put products into context and show customers how to use them. This includes styling clothes, decorating homes, providing recipes and more. Even B2B marketers can leverage the power of this visual medium through the use of infographics and other visualizations. (Here’s how to adapt to Pinterest’s recent changes.) Actionable Social Media Insight: Be creative about how you present your business visually. Even IBM has interesting pin boards. (Also check out Beth Hayden’s book Pinfluence.)
While only referenced by about a third of respondents, podcasting ranks high with social media and content experts such as Mike Stelzner of Social Media Examiner. They believe that this audience of one media format will continue to grow in size especially with the prevalence of mobile devices. So start building your audience now.
When it comes to an effective social media strategy, you need to use a mix of platforms to maximize your reach and drive traffic and sales. To this end, you must continually keep learning about the hot new social media offerings and changes to existing sites.
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