In a fast-evolving digital world, it has become imperative for any business to build liaison with the public via social media. At the same time, it is important for marketers and businesses to know just how successful social media presence is for the organization concerned. The wide range of analytics tools from Hootsuite to TweetDeck to Social Mention to Topsy give an opportunity to companies to make data-driven, informed decisions. There has been quite a lot of storm off late over the possible restructuring of sites like Facebook towards a “pay-for-play” policy. This has eroded social media’s image as a unique platform for its “free” access to potential target groups. In fact, there have been talks of the declining utility of social for business as early as 2013. That said, companies still cannot overlook the importance of social media, even if marketing on social media has to be done through paid campaigns or sponsored posts.
In a study published by Social Media Examiner that surveyed over 5000 social marketers, it was found that 90% of marketers feel that social media is important for their business. Some of the key takeaways from this study were:
- The importance of videos cannot be overstated.
- Live videos are considered to be the next hot thing in social marketing.
- Facebook continues to be the most important social network for marketers.
- Snapchat is set to grow, fast.
- A vast majority of marketers are unsure about how to use the social media data.
But if you are a marketer, there are more general trends among the peers that should interest you. Marketers are greatly interested in knowing the best tactics, rules of engagement with the audience, ways to measure the ROI (or return on investment), identifying the target audience and finally, the best social marketing tools. 68% of those surveyed said they monitor their social media activities.
The top two benefits of social media marketing have been identified as an increase of exposure and increase of traffic. Other benefits of social media marketing include:
- Growing business partnerships
- Generating leads
- Reducing marketing expenses
- Improving search rankings
- Developing loyal fans
- Establishing thought leadership
But marketers have also faced a lot of difficulty in utilizing social media in the last 12 months leading up to the survey, with Facebook traffic, in particular, showing a decline. That said, Facebook is still the most trusted social media platform for marketers. In the future too, if we go by the study results, Facebook will continue to dominate as the most used social media tool for marketing purposes. Why exactly Facebook continues to have such a pride of place in the minds of the consumer despite the declining traffic trend is a topic for future research! But one thing is certain – that marketers consider social media to be important and this trend is not going to change soon. This is why it is important to take social media analytics seriously.