The State of Social Media Marketing– Annual Survey Report

REPORTRecently, Awarness Inc released a report called The State of Social Media Marketing : Top Areas For Social Marketing Investment and Biggest Social Marketing Challenges in 2012.This report looks at key different areas of your social media strategy like monitoring, investments, human resource allocations and last but the most important one – the challenges.

I have been going through the report and something that caught my attention was, that companies have now realized that inorder to derive value through their social media efforts they need to allocate resources who understand and can work with social media.

The report is based on insights from 320 marketers (social marketing leaders, experienced professionals, novice and dabblers) on social media trends from 2011 and predictions for 2012. The It compares the state of social media in 2011 and expectations from 2012, based on this survey. Here I will attempt to bring out some key highlights from the report.

Platforms

The big three social platforms in 2011 were Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, with YouTube and blogs following closely. In 2012, the social marketing leaders and experienced marketers will add new platforms to their arsenal, with the greatest inclination towards SlideShare. The novices and dabblers are playing catch-up on the Big Three, blogs and YouTube. According to the survey, it is quite obvious that all social platforms will grow in 2012.platforms

Monitoring

In 2011, 78% were monitoring social media channels for brand mentioning at least a few times a week and 73% were monitoring industry conversations with the same frequency. According to the survey, these numbers will rise to 92% monitoring brand mentions and 87% monitoring industry conversations in 2012. Only 19% reported using a social media management platform in 2011. 25% plan to add social media management tools to their social marketing arsenal in 2012.monitoring


Two main challenges for 2012 – Resources and ROI

Resources

In 2011, 57% did not allocate budgets to social marketing, but relied on people resources. 18% of marketers spend between $1,000 and $10,000 on social media annually. Only 8% reported budgets of over $50,000 per year. In 2012,it is expected that we will see a more balanced approach between social media resources and investments in infrastructure. This will scale and prove the value of social initiatives.

Good news is that marketers are looking to invest heavily in social media marketing in 2012. Top social marketing investment areas are presence, frequency & processes. Leaders, experienced marketers and organisations with large social media budgets are, other than focusing reach and frequency, also paying attention to management and monitoring tools. While novices, dabblers and small budget companies are still mainly focused on reach and frequency and integration with the rest of marketing.

resources

ROI

Close to 100% of the companies state they are measuring ROI, though they are still not willing to invest before they see the proof behind it. Leaders and experienced social marketers show deeper appreciation for social marketing ROI. These companies will set the metrics, methods and benchmarks that will establish social marketing as one of the viable, proven ways to drive value for organisations in 2012.

Executives and senior managers are looking for traction in three key areas – ROI, integration of social with lead generation and sales and lastly, expansion of social presence and reach.

In 2011, the primary measure of ROI was number of new fans and followers. For 2/3, the desired outcome was to drive traffic to owned media. 53% reported using engagement (social mentions of their brand), 40% measured share of social conversations and 38% of marketers monitored and reported on lead generation activities.

ROI

Some of the other concerns highlighted in the report for 2012 are managing and growing social presence and monitoring social media channels.

I found the report quite interesting and it was great to look at insights from different strategists ranging from newcomers to people who have been there and seen it all. I am happy to say that their combined insights have brought out some good points, which I am sure that you will find useful in strengthening your social media efforts!

Recommend that you too read the report for some fresh insights and views. Click here to download the PDF.



Clickbait: Information overload! How can brands cut-through all the noise?

Screen Shot 2016-04-12 at 10.11.34You won’t believe the hidden message in this blog post! Or rather – there isn’t one, I just wanted you to click through and read this. But bear with me – I’m about to suggest something incredibly controversial – a never-heard-before admission by a social agency!*

As much as clickbait is the emotional catnip of our online experience and can drive consistent traffic for publishers like The Daily Mail and Huff Post who churn out multiple stories each day, it’s still hugely annoying to discover you’ve been duped by an over-excited headline promising to give you all the feels. For brands, adopting the same practice can negatively affect perception and ultimately – sales. So how can brands cut through all the sensational copy and deliver successful results without falling prey to creating clickbait themselves? How do they beat them rather than join them?

 

Platform crackdown

In the early days of social, Facebook optimised content based on engagement, meaning that if users clicked on a piece of content, it received a higher ranking in newsfeeds. In 2014 Facebook took steps to try and crack down on those gaming this ranking using clickbait, and in February this year it introduced an update based not just on what users engaged with in their feed, but what they wanted to see. Facebook’s advice is that Pages should avoid encouraging people to take action (such as encouraging lots of clicks), because this will likely only cause temporary spikes in metrics that might then be rebalanced by feed’s ranking over time – meaning the latest ranking favours content that users naturally engage with rather than content that users click on through coercion.

 

Last month Instagram followed suit and announced it would alter user’s feeds to optimise the content users “care about the most”, and Twitter has also adopted a similar change (although users can opt-out and revert back to the chronological feed). The changes will hopefully make it harder for clickbaiters to game feeds with meaningless content, but the real aim for the platforms hosting is to surface more engaging content more frequently so users return often and stay longer.

 

The same goes for brands on social. If the content they produce is consistently engaging, then users will interact more frequently, leading others to discover it through preferred ranking. Ultimately, these new newsfeed algorithms exist to generate more meaningful engagement, driving not just clicks, but conversations via comments, and shares.

 

Learn and adapt

Meaningful engagement begins with relevant content that creates value for the user and the brand. While an insight-driven content strategy is key to delivering this, brands should also adapt stories and messages based on the emotional needs and behavior of their audience. This is more than just a case of ‘test and learn’ or refining what has already been done. Brands must also evolve their approach in line with new behaviors, platforms, competitors and rankings or risk being left behind by those who do.

 

A good example of a brand that does this well is Buzzfeed, who’s CEO recently shared their new strategic thinking, revealing how their objective has changed from getting users to click through to their main site to view stories, to allowing content to be consumed directly on other platforms. The new direction was prompted by analysing which content generated clicks and discovering that users prefer to consume some types of content within the platform they are already on. The company also found a discernable difference between user interactions with the same content on different platforms, demonstrating how content demand and consumption vary across sites. What spreads like wildfire on Facebook might fail miserably elsewhere.

 

Relevance is key

For brands looking to use social content to drive click-through to their site, it’s important to balance the goal of the company (clicks to eyeballs, or conversions to sales, for example) with the desire and behavior of users on different sites, and monitor response over time. Relevance is key to interaction, and brands that think like publishers will know that relevance is an ever-changing chameleon. While users are bombarded with meaningless clickbait, there is ample opportunity for brands to channel the social zeitgeist by delivering valuable content that meets audience needs in the format, time and platform that suits them. If they get this right, they won’t need clickbait.

 

At Mindjumpers we help companies and brands to think as publishers and provide end-to-end social media management across multiple markets, encompassing full social strategy, planned and reactive content creation, analysis and reporting.

 

If you’d like to find out more please get in touch.

 

*Don’t be naughty and scroll to the last paragraph – I’ve hidden the controversial part somewhere to optimize your dwell time in finding it!