2012 Social Media Marketing Industry Report

reportRecently, a report called “How Marketers Are Using Social Media To Grow Their Businesses” was released by Social Media Examiner. The report uncovers the “who, what, where, when and why” of social media marketing.

This study is based on a survey conducted for more than 3,800 marketers, with the goal of understanding how they are using social media to grow and promote their businesses. Most participants of the survey (57%) were based in the United States followed by Canada (9%),United Kingdom (9%) and Australia (5%). The respondents were evenly distributed between B2B  (51%) and B2C (49%) to know the opinion of people from both the industries.




Here are some key highlights of the report:

Use of social media for marketing: The survey began by understanding how important the participants thought that social media was for their business and also if they were familiar with it. Here are two charts that show the responses. The first chart shows the statistics for the question “Are you using social media for your business?” The second chart looks at the importance of social media for businesses.

use of socialmediaimportance of socila media Untitled 2


The time commitment: The report covers weekly hours that marketers invest in their social media efforts. Further, it goes to analyse the dependence of time invested in social media on the experience, age factor as well as the employee count of the organisation.

weekly hours spent insocial media

The benefits of social media marketing: This section reveals all the major advantages marketers are achieving through their social media efforts. The report also looks at the importance of the size of the organisation and the time they have been using social media for in each of these factors.

benefits of social media

Commonly used social media services : Here we get to look at different tools marketers are currently using as well as looking to learn more about in future.

commonly used socialmedia channels

Social media sites people want to learn more about : In this section, you see the up-and-coming tools that marketers are most interested in learning about. In later sections, the report also looks at each of these channels individually to understand marketers’ interest in them.

channels people want to learn more about

Other analysis : The report also examines social media outsourcing and how marketers plan on using other forms of marketing. In addition, it also highlights how B2B companies differ from B2Ccompanies and whether the size of a business has any bearing on results. Since this survey has been done annually for the the last 4 years, it is possible to highlight significant changes since the 2011 study.

I think this report adds value to everyone working with social media- be it the beginners or experienced professionals. It is especially good for people who are yet to step into the social media world and introduce this to their business. It is good to see the tools, channels, time invested to optimise the expenses and reap maximum benefit from social media.

This report is free and available for immediate download until April 19.

>> Download the report here.



Get Ready for the Bots – on Facebook Messenger

2Facebook Messenger was released 5 years ago and now has over 900 million users. Originally receiving a flood of negativity towards a standalone messaging app, compared to one simple Facebook app, users seem to be warming to it. The decision to make it standalone does make a lot of sense, since messaging is a big part of people’s lives nowadays and Facebook even bought the domain messenger.com to launch a version for web browsers last year. Their 900 million users will more than likely be merged with Whatsapp’s 1 billion users, which means that Facebook will have the personal phone number of every single user – sounds like $19 billion well spent.

 

Open for Business

So that’s humans covered. Where to go next? Facebook is now venturing into their next Messenger-based project: bots. If you haven’t been keeping up, Facebook launched Messenger Platform last month, which holds within it, chatterbots. Luckily, these bots are not machine learning bots, such as the disaster that was Microsoft’s Tay. They do have some humorous replies if provoked but they ultimately steer the conversation back to the subject they’re designed to cater for. Thanks to their highly advanced Send/Receive API, these bots are able to reply with actual structured messages, including links, images, hotel reservations, the weather etc. You may immediately compare this to Apple Siri, Microsoft Cortana, Google Now and Amazon Echo, but what sets bots on Messenger apart is the fact that businesses can develop them, which in turn gives them another way to develop customer service. Simply put, bots could end up changing the world by replacing humans in such job sectors. Without the bespoke customer service integration that Messenger bots provide, the above voice-activated services will most likely not be able to solve business-related queries themselves. Having said that, the way bots behave is very reminiscent of the way Siri does. Maybe they’ll talk to each other one day and we’ll get the best of both.

 

Customer Service and Added Value

So how can these bots work for brands? Well, eventually, every major company in the world will have an account, which will be a first port of call when contacting their company. The reason this is almost definite is due to Facebook’s already-mammoth-sized network of users. It doesn’t get any bigger than Facebook when advertising to individual people, so connecting Messenger bots (as customer sales reps, for example) is extremely attractive. Messenger codes, one of many things taken from Snapchat, will also make it easier for businesses to connect with their customers. One industry example is how bots will almost certainly change how banking works for the consumer, replacing an app or web-based system with a dialogue with a machine that is able to understand your every need. The option to send money within Messenger itself is highly likely too, like Snapchat allows. This could also eliminate the hassle of speaking to a bank’s voice recognition system when calling by telephone – no more time (and money) wasted by the dreaded “I didn’t catch that. Please try again.” These voice recognition systems are essentially bots done badly, but they’re based on voice, which is a lot more difficult to translate into zeros and ones. Plus, you cannot autocorrect your voice (yet). I can see this whole system being replaced by bots – it could even connect you to a human advisor with ease, as you’re most likely already using your phone. Even if you’re using the desktop version or Facebook Chat, I’m sure they’ll figure something out. Besides banks, what other markets will benefit from this? Restaurants, travel and possibly supermarkets with online shopping services are big industries for it to thrive. The healthcare industry could also be a large portion – Healthtap have already created their bot, which isn’t surprising considering one of the first ever chatterbots was called DOCTOR and simulated a psychotherapist. In fact, the potential amount of markets are endless for this stream of interaction – just like it is with human customer service.

 

At the end of the day, customers are moving towards messaging as their preferred choice of customer service. And as generations progress, it will no doubt become the standard – a phone call will most likely be reserved for long, meaningful conversations with friends and family, which in turn will add even more meaning to them. The phone call will no longer be taken for granted, but talking to robots will be.