The Social Media Examiner recently published their 4th annual social media marketing industry report. Each year they interview marketers about how they are using social media to grow and promote their businesses.
For the 2012 report, they interviewed over 3,800 marketers to determine:
- The top 10 social media questions marketers want answered
- The time commitment
- The benefits of social media marketing
- Commonly used social media services
- Social media sites people want to learn more out
- How B2B vs. B2C companies use social media
- How marketers are using other forms of marketing
- Outsourcing of social media management
Benefits of Social Media Marketing
One section of the report that I found most interesting was the benefits of social media section. The top 5 benefits of social media marketing that marketers have seen are:
- Increased exposure
- Increased traffic
- Provided marketplace insight
- Generated leads
- Developed loyal fans
Below is a graph from the annual report that shows the percent of marketers who have seen specific benefits from using social media marketing.
An interesting change from the 2011 to 2012 report is the percent of marketers who said social media marketing helped to improve search rankings. In 2011 62% of the marketers interviewed said that their search rankings improved, but only 55% of the marketers interviewed in this year’s report saw a benefit. I found this change very interesting since I have experienced improvements in search rankings using social media campaigns in the past. After examining the report further, it appears that those who saw improved search rankings were investing more than 10 hours a week in social media, have at least 3 years experience, or are selling to other businesses (B2B companies). There appears to be a direct correlation between the amount of time invested and experience on search ranking. However, industry is a large factor, as only 50% of businesses who sell to consumers saw a significant increase in their search rankings.
Benefits of Social Media Takeaways:
- B2B companies are more likely to grow business partnerships using social media than B2C companies.
- Spending 6 hours or more a week on social media shows a significant increase in lead generation.
- Small business are more likely to see an increase in lead generation than large companies.
- Those with 3 and more years experience managing social media see a significant increase in all the measured benefits compared to those with less experience.
- Over a third of all mid-sized and large companies have not seen a reduction in their marketing expenses. This is very interesting, I wonder if social media is seen as an additional marketing effort not a replacement for other marketing at this time.
- A not surprising find, social media is great for generating site traffic. 74% of marketers saw increases in site traffic when investing minimum 6 hours a week in social media.
- B2B companies use social media for gaining marketplace insight much more than B2C companies.
- B2C companies have a much larger increase in their loyal fan base when using social media than B2B companies.
- There is a direct correlation between amount of time invested in social media and acquiring loyal fans. More Time Invested = Increase in Loyal Fans
Check out the full 2012 Social Media Marketing Industry report on the Social Media Examiner site.