Every year Michael Stelzner, Founder of Social Media Examiner, publishes an annual report about how marketers are currently using social media and how they are planning to use it in the future.
This year’s report surveyed more than 3700 marketers with the goal of understanding how they are using social media to grow and promote their businesses.
The report contains more than fifty pages and has more than eighty charts. We have read each page of the report and have complied a list of what we believe are the key takeaways.
Use of Social Media
92% of marketers surveyed reported that social media marketing is important to their business. This comes as no surprise since social media is still one of the most effective ways to reach a large targeted audience. Only 2% of those surveyed disagreed that social media was important to their business.
Weekly Time Commitment
A majority of marketers are spending a significant amount of time on their social media marketing efforts. A majority of marketers reported that they use social media for 6 or more hours per week (64%). 41% reported that they use it more than 11 hours per week. One of the most surprising statistics is that almost a quarter of marketers surveyed spend more than 20 hours per week on social.
Benefits of Social Media Marketing
Marketers reported that the top two benefits they receive from using social media are increased exposure for their brand and increased traffic to their website. A significant portion (65%) reported that they have increased lead generation and 51% reported an improvement in sales.
It should be noted that a direct correlation was observed between how many hours a marketer puts into their social channels and the positive results that they see from it.
Most Commonly Used & Most Important Social Media Platforms
The most commonly used social media platform by marketers was Facebook, with 93% of respondents saying they use the platform. 52% of marketers also reported that Facebook was the most important social media channel to their business.
After Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn were reported as the next two most used channels. Google+ and YouTube almost tie for fourth place as most used social media platform at 56% and 55% respectively.
I predict that YouTube will soon overtake Google + as video content continues to become more popular.
Most Important Content
Almost half of the marketers surveyed (45%) reported that blogging was the most important form of content for their business. Visual content (34%) and video (19%) took the second and third place for marketers. This shows that the written word still has a very strong impact on marketing efforts.
This also shows that many marketers are undervaluing video content. Your business could use video content to connect with your audience and gain a competitive advantage.
A Shift Toward Paid Activity
Overall, marketers are planning to increase their paid social media activities in the future. Facebook (53%) was the channel that marketers intended to use for advertising. This was followed by Google Ads (38%) and Twitter Ads (31%) as the other social media channels that marketers were planning to increase their spending on.
As many social media channels become increasingly crowded, marketers are using paid advertising to make sure their message reaches their audience effectively.
Overall, the information in the report was very insightful. It is nice to see some of the information that we believed to be true confirmed by other marketers. There is a lot of valuable information here and you can definitely see where the future of social media is headed.
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