Knowledge is power. Social Media Examiner just released the “Social Media Marketing Industry Report.” This document is so powerful that I want to share some highlights from the article with you. The report starts out with a great introduction by Social Media Examiner founder, Michael A. Stelzner:
“Social media has gone mainstream. And for businesses it represents an unprecedented marketing opportunity that transcends traditional middlemen and connects companies directly with customers. This is why nearly every business on the planet is exploring social media marketing initiatives…Two years ago, businesses were uncertain about social media. Now it’s here to stay and companies are rapidly responding to new social media opportunities.”
The report summarizes major findings, which I have quoted below. (Please note that comments outside the quotes are mine.)
- “Marketers place high value on social media: A significant 90% of marketers indicate that social media is important for their business.”
There are good reasons why social media is so valued, and most business people see the potential. However, merely understanding the value does not always translate to reaping returns. Social media is not a silver bullet, and just publishing a page and making posts will probably not get you far. Like any other type of marketing, starting with a solid marketing strategy is paramount. Patience is also very important—it takes time to build your brand online and to get people conversing. The right messages that engage your audience and the frequency of communication (not too much, nor too little) will be huge factors in your success.
- “Measurement and integration are top areas marketers want to master: One third of all social media marketers want to know how to monitor and measure the return on investment (ROI) of social media and integrate their social media activities.”
One of the great things about most social media is that it is very measurable; analytics tools are usually built into platforms so you can receive and configure feedback immediately. Integration refers to how well you cross-promote your social media across all your marketing (website, traditional advertising, etc.), as well as making your messaging consistent across all your communications touch points. Social media can be a powerful part of your marketing repertoire. ROI can sometimes be measured directly, but don’t underestimate returns that are less measurable but of immense value nonetheless: constant brand communication, good public relations, word-of-mouth and support of your other media.
- “Social media marketing takes a lot of time: The majority of marketers (58%) are using social media for 6 hours or more each week, and more than a third (34%) invest 11 or more hours weekly.”
- “Social media outsourcing underutilized: Only 28% of businesses are outsourcing some portion of their social media marketing.”
These two points impact one another in an important way. Successful social media marketing can take a lot of time if you do it yourself. However, a social media expert can accomplish a lot for you in much less time, often at a reasonable cost. Not only are these pros efficient, they can also be very effective in the creative messaging and strategies they employ on your behalf. Social media requires specialized strategies and messaging, and trying to learn as you go can hurt your brand. In most cases, I recommend that businesses utilize the services of a professional firm to manage their social media.
- “Video marketing on the rise: A significant 77% of marketers plan on increasing their use of YouTube and video marketing, making it the top area marketers will invest.”
- “Marketers seek to learn more about Facebook and blogging: 70% of marketers want to learn more about Facebook and 69% want to learn more about blogging.”
Video engages your audience and adds interest to your social media and website, often translating into more page views and sharing of your content. Blogging is an interactive form of social media that can and should be integrated with your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and website. (Go to http://javapixel.com/web-design-blog.html to read a recent blog I wrote about blogs!)
- “The top benefits of social media marketing: The number-one advantage of social media marketing (by a long shot) is generating more business exposure, as indicated by 88% of marketers. Increased traffic (72%) and improved search rankings (62%) were also major advantages.”
If you’re not yet using the top four media tools, it’s time to begin. If you’re using them and not yet reaping the top benefits, it’s time to discover the reasons and seriously consider employing the services of a professional. Start by asking your chosen social media expert to write up a marketing strategy that integrates these tools.
Kelly Walker is Copywriter for Javapixel Rochester Web and SEO, a full-service marketing agency in Rochester, NY.
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