3 Social Media Marketing Trends You Need Now! [Research]

Social Media: Put Your Money Where Your Customers Are

Want customers? You’ll find them engaged on the social Internet (aka social media).

One out of five minutes online is spent on a social media network where women 15 and above spend 6.5 hours on average – an hour and a half more than men, according to comScore. Despite this disparity, men over 55 are the fastest growing demographic.

While 75% of time spent on social media platforms is spent on Facebook, overlook other, newer options at your peril, particularly the fast growing Tumblr and Pinterest.

So what’s a marketer looking to invest in social media to do?

To help determine where and what social media related marketing and support to incorporate into your plans, here are marketers’ top three social media investment priorities according to Awareness, Inc.

  1. Expand social media presences across various platforms. As a marketer, you must be where your prospects and customers are on social media. To engage with them requires head count. To put this in perspective, Altimeter’s research found that corporations had an average of 178 accounts, not counting those of individuals. These accounts go across an increased variety of social media platforms. That’s a lot of manpower just to monitor them and ensure that their messaging is consistent.
  2. Increase content marketing creation. Since social media feeds on content, it’s critical to continually feed the social media beast. (Here’s a content marketing checklist to help keep you on track.)
  3. Invest in better, more efficient social marketing management and monitoring tools. As social media usage increases within the organization, you need to be able to handle each engagement more cost effectively in real time, rather than chase after individual comments. For larger organizations, this is particularly important because consumer input can have an impact across the organization.

Marketers’ choice of social media networks reflects these priorities.

  1. Blogs are important for supporting social media with keyword rich content. The bigger surprise is that they’ve been so undervalued by the social media set and corporations as a whole. They provide searchable content and conversation via their posts and comments.
  2. YouTube enables an organization to create its own television channel. Even better, YouTube is the number two search engine and the number two social media offering.
  3. Forums make sense in the context of allowing customers to help each other out without needing for the firm to participate.
  4. Slideshare is a great way to participate by sharing your presentations. It’s useful for B2B where you’re willing to put your content out in public. It can be a cost effective way to expand your reach since the presentation is generally created for some other reason.
  5. Tumblr is a high growth microblogging site that’s beginning to get notice. It’s a must if you have a younger audience.

Marketers still grapple with getting sufficient social media resources and utilizing them best. Despite increased social media investments, the top social media marketing challenges continue to include the following.

  1. Lack of sufficient resources. Although social media marketing budgets are increasing, they’re still not aligned with corporate needs. Companies need both financial and human resources for social media because social media doesn’t happen by itself and it requires resources.
  2. The ability to track ROI remains allusive for marketers. While marketers have made the case for increased social media marketing budget, they haven’t figured out how to track and account for the money. Integrating a contextually relevant call-to-action and a unique trackable promotional code are helpful tactics towards achieving this goal. (Here’s how to ensure your social media marketing ROI is zero.)
  3. Managing a growing social presence is difficult. As social media expands within the corporation, the need for improved processes to handle inquiries and respond to customer requests, namely customer service, is more important.

As social media marketing investment continues to grow and mature within the corporation, so do the related needs and complexity. Marketers need to be prepared to integrate these related changes into their plans.

Has your social media marketing budget increased? If so, how do you plan to invest it and why?

Happy marketing,
Heidi Cohen

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Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/68751915@N05/6355836713/
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