I enjoyed reading a recent report into social media strategy authored by Social Fresh and Firebrand Group in the USA.
The insights and data in the report are based on a survey of 551 digital marketers, targeting social media brand marketers and decision makers. Whilst 65% of respondents were in the USA, the sample did also cover global participants including UK, Canada, Australia and NZ. The goal of the report is to understand how social media marketing budgets and resources are being used today and into the future.
Interestingly brand awareness was cited as the most common goal from social media (76% of respondents), followed by lead gen (47%), customer loyalty (34%), sales (28%) and customer service (17%). Coming off the back of the mass media advertising era this is perhaps not surprising, but as the industry matures I would expect and hope to to see a greater focus on retention via the customer loyalty and customer service goals. As a medium of connection I continue to see customer service and retention as a key aspect of social business strategy.
As Jay Baer says in the report “The people most likely to pay attention to your brand in social are your current customers. Customer loyalty and customer service objectives are vastly embraced”.
In terms of ROI, Facebook was quoted as the most effective performing network by 96% of respondents, followed by Twitter at 64% and Instagram at 40%. Consistent with this, the top 3 networks marketers plan to invest in over the next 12 months are Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
Interestingly, despite the hype, Snapchat ranked the lowest for future investment with only 11% of marketers planning to invest there. Karianne Stinson from Microsoft said in the report “It’s the bright and shiny social network, but I still think it’s lacking from a brand marketing point of view. The analytics aren’t there yet and it’s a difficult channel to show an ROI”.
Allocated time by task showed the top 3 activities performed by social marketers are content development (18.5%), social engagement (14.7%) and publishing to social (12.8%) (I was a little disappointed to see social listening coming in at 5th at 12.3% given its fundamental importance).
Content types not surprisingly had images first (79% create at least once a month), followed by blog (58% – the written word hasn’t died just yet) and videos (46%).
Influencer marketing is certainly the “hot topic” in 2016 but the survey indicates this is an activity for the future rather than one being heavily invested in today, with only 6.8% of a marketers’ time being devoted to Influencer Marketing. As one participant commented “logistics and laws around Influencer Marketing are complex and capricious”.
Overall an interesting and insightful piece of analysis which paints a picture of where the industry sits today but also highlights opportunities for evolution as the sector matures.