Which social channels are marketers going to focus on next?

16 June 2015

The benefits of social media marketing

Credit: Social Media Examiner   2015 Social Media Marketing Industry Report
In the bewildering array of social media channels I'm always interested to meet people who have shunned their use because they don't see their competitors using them.  This is especially true in B2B marketing so I was interested in the latest trends in the use of social media in both the B2B and B2C sectors and some of the key benefits shown in this report.
It's clear that not all channels are created equal and choosing to use social media should be based on determining how you believe you can use them to create value for your target audience, rather than copying your competitors. However I was intrigued to read the latest Social Media Marketing Industry Report from Michael Stelzner at Social Media Examiner.
Issues to be wrestled with
This is the seventh year of research for the report and it reveals several issues that the industry is still wrestling with such as:
- return on investment;
- which tactics  work best to build engagement
- how to find my target audience
- which tools to use.
Key Facebook usage trends by marketers
Only a staggering 45% of marketers think their marketing efforts using Facebook are effective. I think this is a wake up call for Facebook to assist clients to measure their marketing activities.  68% of respondents wanted to learn more about it and yet 8% were already planning to decrease their use of Facebook and those using Facebook ads had decreased from 90% in the 2014 report  to 84% in 2015.
Most important channels
The report confirms that when asked to make a single selection, 52% of marketers choose Facebook as their most important channel followed by Linkedin at 21%. None of the others come close.
Where is the future focus?
It was interesting to note that 66% of marketers surveyed wanted to increase their use of Twitter, YouTube and Linkedin. There was a distinct interest in video as 72% want to learn more about video marketing and to use it.
B2B marketing trends and use of social media versus B2C
There is a key difference in the use of mobile friendly blogs as 56% of B2B businesses have their blogs optimised for mobile versus only 45% of B2C businesses. Given the recent Google changes in April 2015 (read April blog)  B2B businesses have better understood the need for a mobile friendly site.
The key differences in B2B and B2C use of social media
The chart below shows that B2B marketers are making much more use of Linkedin, Twitter, Google+ and Slide Share than B2C marketers.  I have long been a fan of Slide Share as an excellent channel for B2B video marketing as it has more standout here than in YouTube. Linkedin is four times more important for B2B than B2C and Twitter nearly twice as important to B2B than B2C.
Platforms used by B2B versus B2C

Credit: Social Media Examiner   2015 Social Media Marketing Industry Report
How much time should I spend on social media channels?
The report offers some helpful insights into how much time marketers are spending on their social marketing. 64% are spending over 6 hours a week with 19% of respondents spending over 20 hours a week.
Key recommendations
Benchmarking with your peer group using this report can be very beneficial but I would also ensure you have a dashboard to track your ongoing performance. Try using the free tools such as the Agora Pulse Barometer which will benchmark your Facebook performance against similar Facebook pages and ensure you have set up your competitors in your Facebook insights page so you can see how they're doing at a glance and key weekly movements in their levels of fan acquisition and engagement.

I encourage you to download the Social Media Examiner report  here to learn more and do share your comments below. 

This report was based on respondents as follows: 52% USA, 9% UK, 6% Canada, 5% Australia and 48% ROW.
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