Social media is constantly evolving and changing, including:
- How individuals use the different platforms (Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, etc)
- How companies communicate with customers
- How to measure success and ROI
- How much to invest into a social media strategy and implementation (what is the value of social media?)
The Social Media Examiner published a great article on how to prove the value of social media for your company based on new research studies. In the article, they breakdown the five newest social media marketing trends:
The Benefits Derived From Social Media are Increasing
The top benefits of social media from a marketing perspective are increased brand awareness and the ability to engage in dialogue directly with their customers. Also, the amount of small businesses using social media has been constantly increasing the last two years. I definitely expect the amount of companies using social media to continue to increase this year. So, if your company has not started to develop a social media strategy to implement, this would be the year to start.
More Businesses are Investing in Social Media
It is estimated that both small and medium sized business will at least double their budgets for social media in 2012. Based on this estimation, I would predict that there would be an even larger budget increase for large and global size companies, who are already seeing the benefits of social media.
Measuring ROI is One of the Top Challenges Face by Marketers
A concerning trend is that approximately half of marketers are not measuring their social marketing to determine its’ success. Simple ways to measure the success of your social media strategy are tracking
- Twitter Followers
- Tweets are Re-Tweeted
- Facebook Likes Shares
- Comments on Facebook posts
- Blog post views and comments
- YouTube video views
- Re-pins on Pinterest
More advanced measurements that you could calculate are lead generation and sales directed from social media, but this will require specific goals set implementing strategy.
Marketing Agencies View the Value of Social Media Differently
I am not surprised that research shows that blogs have the best benefit for increasing search results, especially when social sharing buttons are included. The more shares of an article the higher up it will appear in search results. Also, blog posts increase the amount of content on your website (the amount of content that search engines will crawl) so this will greatly benefit your rankings.
An Integrated Social Media Plan Leads to Greater Financial Results
In 2012, I hope to see more companies begin to fully integrate social media into their business process. Many companies are just beginning to use and understand social media, so it often falls into this “side project” category. In order for a social media strategy to be successful in increasing conversations, brand awareness, and financial goals, then social media must be fully integrated into a company’s marketing efforts.
It is going to be very interesting to see how these trends play out in 2012. Check out the full article and all the infographics here: 5 Social Media Marketing Trends: New Research | Social Media Examiner.