By MIKE GINGERICH
THE GOSHEN NEWS
Can social media marketing really impact business goals? Should a business jump in and use social media? These are common questions that I’m often asked to address.
While I believe the answer is a resounding “Yes,” this time I’m going to let others answer that question. A survey of more than 3,000 business marketers was just released by Social Media Examiner that gives insights on how businesses that have tried using social media see it impacting their business goals and marketing plans. The full report is available at http://bit.ly/SMreport2013.
Below, I outline a number of key takeaways and insights that are of significant value to businesses considering adding social media to their marketing, or increasing their use of social media in their business marketing plans.
Eighty-six percent of those surveyed say social media is important to their business. This statistic continues to see growth as it is up 3 percent from 2012. The short summary here is that social media is seeing great adoption and inroads into companies of all sizes as a valued part of their marketing plans.
Fifty-three of marketers surveyed have been using social media for two or less years. This statistic means social media is still early on in business adoption and many businesses are only now beginning to really jump in and use this new marketing channel. As well, as users in the survey showed more years of using social media, their reporting of positive impact and results grew. This means social media marketing does have a learning curve to learn how to implement and how to achieve real return on investment.
Most important social
platform for marketers?
When asked this question, marketers overwhelmingly stated that Facebook was the most important platform for them. I don’t disagree. Facebook has the clear lead as the most adopted social network by those living in the United States. Far beyond any other social network it has been adopted and is in use by mainstream Americans, meaning this is a channel where businesses can reach their audience.
Coming in second and third were blogging and LinkedIn. The rise of “content marketing,” offering valuable content that helps companies attract, be discovered, and ultimately sell to new customers, is key to this value on blogging. LinkedIn is the most business-focused social network and continues to grow and make changes that increase ways for individuals and businesses to reach their audience. Those surveyed identified that they are seeing results from these tools and plan to continue more use of them for their marketing efforts in the year ahead.
Benefits of social media marketing
Respondents to the survey noted that increased exposure and traffic to their website and store were the top two benefits of social media marketing. This is valuable because the more exposure and the more traffic a company can generate the more lead opportunities they have potential to close with a sale. It is interesting to note that 43 percent of the group also noted that improved sales was a benefit of social media marketing while at the same time reducing marketing expenses.
The report indicates there is adoption, growth and increasing ability to see return on investment with social media. Results increase as use and experience with social media for business grows. Again, the full report can be accessed at: http://bit.ly/SMreport2013. The survey takers included over 52 percent identied as solo entrepreneurs to those having less than ten employees, and 56 percent of those responding said their focus was business to consumer marketing.
Mike Gingerich leads the Social Application division of web design company, Digital Hill Multimedia (http://www.DigitalHill.com). He is a co-founder of TabSite.com, a leader in Facebook fan page tools for businesses. TabSite offers brands the power to boost Facebook marketing with contests and promotions. For more information on TabSite, please visit www.tabsite.com.