How To Improve Your Social Media Marketing Use [Research]

7 Social Media Trends To Grow Your Business

Woman checking social media on smartphoneDoes your social media marketing yield results that help grow your business?

Not sure?

Don’t worry you’re in good company.

More than 1 in 2 marketers can’t track social media to ROI improvement. Since social media is rarely the first or last medium touched during the purchase process, measurement can be hard. Convertro_SocialMedia_report 2014-2

To put this in context, 88.2% of US companies use at least 1 social media platform in 2015.

Corporate Social Media Use By US Marketers (Chart)

Corporate Social Media Use By US Marketers (Chart)

Social network marketing is at a saturation point. As a result, US marketers are diversifying their use of social media.

  • 7% of US companies with 100+ employees use Facebook in 2015. This will increase minimally to 85.3% in 2016 and 85.8% in 2017.
  • 8% of US companies with 100+ employees use Twitter in 2015. This will increase minimally to 66.6% in 2016 and 67.2% in 2017.
  • 3% of US companies with 100+ employees use Instagram in 2015. This will increase significantly to 48.8% in 2016 and 70.7% in 2017. At this point, Instagram marketing use will exceed Twitter for the first time.
Twitter VS Instagram: US Company Use (Chart)

Twitter VS Instagram: US Company Use (Chart)

 

How to improve your social media marketing use based on research [with charts!]Woman checking social media on smartphone

Ascend2’s Social Media Marketing Trends Survey is based on 294 completed interviews with global marketing, sales and business professionals.

Here’s the analysis of the results with recommendations to improve your social media marketing use.

1. How marketers rank the most important social media marketing strategy goals

Here are 8 key social media marketing goals.

  • 64% of respondents use social media marketing to increase audience engagement. This makes sense since marketers seek to interact with prospects, customers and social media followers. It’s important to have customer service employees who are trained to respond via social media.
  • 54% of respondents use social media marketing to increase brand awareness. Depending on the social media network and related advertising options, marketers can reach a broader audience than through owned media alone.
  • 41% of respondents use social media marketing to generate leads. At a minimum, provide information that supports customers’ 5 basic content needs to help place your firm in the customer’s consideration set.
  • 35% of respondents use social media marketing to drive website traffic. Where appropriate think beyond your homepage. Attract potential readers to your content and try to get them to sign up for your emailings.
  • 25% of respondents use social media marketing to increase revenue. Some platforms are better at converting sales than others. This includes Pinterest and blogs. Also shopping sites, like Yelp and Amazon that aren’t pure social media, aid sales.
  • 23% of respondents use social media marketing to distribute content. Make your content resonate with the social media network’s audience.
  • 15% of respondents use social media marketing to improve search rankings. Integrate your social media efforts with your search strategy to improve results. Also, use a blog.
  • 15% of respondents use social media marketing to increase audience size. This point seems similar to that of driving web traffic and may refer to email registrations.
Top Social Media Marketing Goals in 2015 (Chart)

Top Social Media Marketing Goals in 2015 (Chart)

 

Actionable Marketing Research Insights:

  • Marketers should start by defining their business and marketing goals, then set tactics and related metrics to achieve them.
  • Social media can contribute to multiple marketing goals at the same time.
  • 100% of marketers should use social media to distribute content. Based on Content Marketing Institute/MarketingProfs 2016 Content Research, the difference between B2B and B2C marketers is which platforms they use.B2B social media for content chart-2016-US-2 B2C Social Media platform use for content marketing distribution-2016-research chart

 

Actionable Social Media Marketing Tips:

2. How successful is social media marketing

  • 88% of respondents think their social media use is successful. This number seems high. That’s 9 out of 10 marketers.
  • 22% of respondents think their social media use is unsuccessful.
Social Media Marketing Success (Chart)

Social Media Marketing Success (Chart)

Actionable Marketing Research Insights:

  • There were no unsure or neutral responses. Given the large proportion of marketers who can’t measure social media, how can they say it’s successful?

3. What is marketers’ biggest obstacle to social media marketing success?

Marketers find the following 8 reasons hurt their social media marketing success.

  • 50% of respondents are unable to measure social media ROI. No surprise since social media is rarely the first or last medium touched in the purchase process. Also, marketers don’t always use a call-to-action!
  • 37% of respondents don’t have the right skills or resources. Internal skills need to be supplemented with outside resources and technology.
  • 32% of respondents lack actionable insights. Use calls-to-action and testing to determine the best presentation and to improve results.
  • 31% of respondents lack effective tactics. Train your employees and stay up-to-date on social media changes. At a minimum, read the top blogs like Social Media Examiner.
  • 29% of respondents lack effective content. Use freelance help. The need for quality content isn’t limited to social media. 60% of B2B marketers have trouble creating engaging content according to 2016 B2B Content Benchmark Research.

    2016 B2B content marketing challenges-chart

    B2B Content Marketers Are Challenged To Create Engaging Content

  • 28% of respondents lack performance metrics. This is an internal problem. Every marketing strategy should have goals related to company objectives and measure results against those goals.
  • 22% of respondents lack enough budget. No surprise. Marketing budgets continue to be cut. Assess how and where you use your resources. Invest in training and technology.
  • 21% of respondents don’t have sufficient followers. This is a challenge for most businesses. People are on social media to engage with their family and friends, not businesses. You must invest resources to continually engage and interact with participants.

 

Actionable Marketing Research Insights:

  • The challenge measuring social media results, insights and ROI is consistent across marketing channels. It also underlines the need to align marketing goals and outcomes to yield results.
  • The right resources and budget allocation reveals growing pains. Reassess where you need people and resources.

 

Actionable Social Media Marketing Tips:

  • Add call-to-action to social media content where appropriate.
  • Make content including shares contextually relevant to social media network.

 

4. What are the most difficult social media tactics for marketers to implement?

Here are 7 social media tactics marketers have trouble implementing.

  • 69% of respondents find creating compelling content is the most difficult social media tactic to execute. (See notes above.)
  • 36% of respondents find optimizing social media for search is the most difficult social media tactic to execute. Incorporate your social media use with your search strategy to improve results and get rid of redundant activities.
  • 28% of respondents find optimizing social media profiles is the most difficult social media tactic to execute. Get outside help for your corporate and employee presence. Modify as needed.
  • 25% (or 1 out of 4) of respondents find managing website content is their most difficult social media tactic to execute. Get senior executives involved since this is an internal company issue.
  • 19% (or 1 out of 5) of respondents find social media posting is the most difficult social media tactic to execute. Use social media tools to support social media scheduling. Also add metadata to your content to aid social media curation.
  • 17% (or 1 out of 6) of respondents find social media advertising is the most difficult social media tactic to execute. This makes sense. These advertising options are relatively new and are still evolving. They also require additional budget. Every firm should be using Facebook ads. (Need help? Read Jon Loomer’s blog.)
  • 15% of respondents find blog posting is the most difficult social media tactic to execute. As a mature forms of content and social media blogs require resources. To help you, download The Definitive 2015 Blog Checklist

Actionable Marketing Research Insights:

  • Integrate social media and content marketing initiatives to decrease resource use and redundancies and increase results. This is particularly important for content, websites and blogs. 

Actionable Social Media Marketing Tips:

 

5. What is the most effective use of social media resources for marketing results?

Most companies use a mix of internal and external resources. This makes sense. Specifically use specialized resources to handle the dynamic social media landscape and support areas.

Most US marketers use a mix of in-house and external resources for social media (Chart)

Most US marketers use a mix of in-house and external resources for social media (Chart)

Actionable Social Media Marketing Tips:

  • Maintain control of your message and voice on social media. Have employees who know your brand involved in the social media process and responding to people on social media.

6. Social media tactics: Effectiveness vs Difficulty

Here are 7 social media tactics ranked by effectiveness versus difficulty.

  • 82% of respondents view creating compelling content as effective and 69% of respondents view it as difficult.
  • 54% of respondents view social media scheduling as effective and 19% of respondents view it as difficult. Use social media scheduling and tap into your employee base. Here’s how to tap into the power of your employees for social media.
  • 26% of respondents view managing website content as effective and 25% of respondents view it as difficult.
  • 25% of respondents view social media advertising as effective and 17% of respondents view it as difficult. At a minimum, get your ad agency to handle social media advertising. Also, start testing new ad options.
  • 25% of respondents view blog posting as effective and 15% of respondents view it as difficult. Blogs are under-utilized as part of an integrated content-social media strategy. Doing it well and consistently requires a strong focus. Download The Definitive 2015 Blog Checklist
  • 19% of respondents view optimizing social media profiles as effective and 28% of respondents find it difficult.
  • 17% of respondents view optimizing social media for search as effective and 36% of respondents find it difficult.
Social Media Marketing Tactics: Effectiveness VS Difficulty (Chart)

Social Media Marketing Tactics: Effectiveness VS Difficulty (Chart)

Actionable Marketing Research Insights:

Many firms aren’t following social media best practices. Use a variety of platforms.

  • Social media advertising is underutilized to support social media stream visibility especially on Facebook.
  • Owned media, which is trusted, should support your social media strategy. You control this!!! Blogging requires planning and resources. It should be integrated into your content and social media marketing plans.

Actionable Social Media Marketing Tips:

  • Get resources to schedule social media. Use a combination of social media tools and employees. Where necessary and you have the budget outsource it.
  • Include social sharing on all of your content where appropriate.

 

7. How are social media marketing budgets changing

4 out of 5 social media budgets aren’t changing very much. This makes sense. Social media is becoming a mature media platform.

Most US Social Media Marketing Budgets Are Not Changing Very Much (Chart)

Most US Social Media Marketing Budgets Are Not Changing Very Much (Chart)

Actionable Marketing Research Insights:

  • Figure out how to become better with the same amount of marketing resources. This translates to social media training and more or better tools.
  • Increase integration with other elements of the marketing mix and business.

 

The bottom line:

Use social media for marketing purposes. It’s maturing along with the networks.

Be strategic in your use of social media.

Integrate social media into your marketing strategies and business plans across your company to get the most results from your content while getting rid of duplicate effort.

What’s your favorite way to improve your social media marketing to yield better results?

Happy Marketing,
Heidi Cohen

Heidi CohenHeidi Cohen is the President of Riverside Marketing Strategies.
You can find Heidi on , Facebook and .

Photo Credit: https://www.pexels.com/photo/fashion-person-woman-hand-4970/

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  • These are some great data. It goes to show that Facebook is still the safest bets when it comes to choosing your preferred social media platform for marketing.