A new survey conducted by Social Media Examiner among more than 5,700 worldwide business owners and marketers revealed that social media marketing has become a highly important digital marketing tactic and that Facebook marketing continues to dominate social media platforms and tactics. 50% of survey participants cited that they were able to obtain improvements in sales, exposure and lead generation with a moderate amount of effort. The survey data also indicated that business owners and marketers plan to increase their social media advertising spending in the next 12 months.
Benefits Of Social Media Marketing
A sizable 92% of business owners and marketers participating in the Social Media Examiner survey revealed that social media marketing is important to the operations of their businesses. This trend is consistent with last years’ findings. Nearly 8 in 10 (88%) of businesses owners and marketers participating in the survey indicated that their social media activities had generated more exposure for their businesses. More traffic was the second most significant benefit generated through social media marketing with 78% reporting positive results, followed by an increase of loyal fans (69%). With a minimum of 6 hours of social media activity per week, over a period of a year, more than half of business owners and marketers participating in the survey were able to improve sales, boost exposure for their business, generate leads and develop royal fans, according to Social Media Examiner.
Analytics and ROI
73% of business owners and marketers said they were regularly analyzing the effectiveness of their social media activities. But far less (38%) were able to measure the return on investment (ROI). The ROI issue has overwhelmed marketers for years. In 2016, only 4 in 10 (41%) survey participants said were able to measure ROI.
42% of business owners and marketers indicated that their Facebook marketing efforts were working, a decrease from 46% in 2016. But that is no surprise. For many businesses Facebook marketing has not lived up to expectations when it comes to metrics like ROI. In an effort to find out why online marketing resources platform Manta conducted a survey among 4,500 SMBs in the US with fewer than 10 employees. They found that 49% of SMBs they surveyed had a Facebook Page for their business and that only half (50%) were seeing a positive ROI.
Only 1 out of 5 marketers, surveyed by the Duke University Fuqua School of Business, were able to prove the impact of their social media efforts quantitatively. Fuqua School of Business conducted the survey in July of 2016 among 427 marketers at US companies across the B2B and B2C sectors.
Social Media Platforms
Facebook is the most important social network for business owners and marketers by a long shot. Nearly two-thirds (62%) of marketers ranked Facebook as the most important social media platform for their businesses, followed by LinkedIn (16%), Twitter (9%), and Instagram (7%). Business owners and marketers operating in the B2B sector continue to favor LinkedIn to a greater degree than B2C marketers. But surprisingly, Facebook passed LinkedIn this year, as the most important platform for business owners and marketers targeting the B2B clients.
There is a tendency among business owners and marketers to experiment more with newer social media platforms after they have gained more experience with social media marketing. Among those who were spending at least 40 hours a week with social media marketing (6%), one-quarter was using an emerging social media platform like Snapchat. Those who were spending the smallest amount of time on social media focused primarily on LinkedIn and Facebook.
Content Types and Tactics
41% of survey participants rated visual images the most important content type for their social media marketing, surpassing blog content (32%) for the first time, according to the Social Media Examiner survey. However, those marketing to businesses (B2B) still rated blogging their most important content type.
Business owners and marketers participating in the survey are planning to increase their use of videos (75%), visuals (73%) and blogging (65%). Despite the low adoption of only 6%, 61% of marketers are planning to increase their use of live video, including Facebook Live and Periscope, in the next year. Surprisingly, 26% of survey participants indicated they want to increase the use of podcasting, currently at 1%.
Time Spent On Social Media And Posting Frequency
Success with social media marketing requires a significant time commitment, but business owners and marketers who can find the time often obtain great results. The Social Media Examiner survey revealed that nearly two-thirds (64%) of the business owners and marketers they surveyed said they were using social media for 6 hours or more and 41% for 11 hours or more weekly. Nearly 20% indicated they spend more than 20 hours each week on social media.
Online marketing resources platform Manta polled 4,500 SMBs in the US with fewer than 10 employees and found that spending less than 6-10 hours a week on Facebook page management is not enough to drive optimal ROI results. On average the business owners and marketers participating in the survey posted 8 times per day to Facebook, 4 times per day to Instagram, 6 times to Twitter, 4 times to LinkedIn, 3 to Pinterest and only one time per day to Snapchat.
The Social Media Examine research data shows that slightly more than two-thirds (68%) of survey participants plan to increase their Facebook posting frequency over the next 12 months. Beyond Facebook, 63% of respondents plan to increase their Instagram posting frequency, 56% intend to boost their Twitter posting activities, 55% intend to post more on LinkedIn and 37% aimed to post more on Pinterest and nearly one in four (23%) said they were planning to increase their Snapchat posting activities over the next 12 months.
Paid Social Media
Almost all business owners and marketers participating in the Social Media Examiner survey reported that they regularly use social media advertising. 9 in 10 respondents (93%) revealed they had used Facebook ads, while 24% indicated they used the Instagram advertising channel. Only 16%, primarily businesses, and marketers targeting B2B clients said they had used LinkedIn advertising. B2C marketers were using Facebook ads more (95%) than B2B marketers (87%). B2B marketers were using LinkedIn ads more (29%) than B2C marketers (10%).
Social Media Examiner asked survey participants about their future social advertising spending. Business owners and marketers indicated they plan to increase their social advertising spending. Nearly two-thirds (64%) said they intend to increase their spending on Facebook, 42% on Instagram, 31% on YouTube, 30% on Twitter and 29% on LinkedIn ads.
Emerging Technologies And Tactics
Slightly less than three-thirds of business owners and marketers indicated they were interested in learning more about Facebook Messenger and other messaging apps in the future. Virtual reality and 360-degree video were on the radar of nearly two-thirds (61%) of survey participants, as were artificial intelligence and bots (59%). Business owners and marketers targeting B2B clients (64%) were more interested in learning about artificial intelligence and bots than those marketing to B2C customers (57%).
The full report can be downloaded here.