The results are in for the Social Media Examiner’s fourth annual social media study, with more than 3800 marketers revealing where they focus their social media activities, how much time they invest and what the rewards and ROI of social media are. And while the findings seem to show that it takes time to develop these social media-based relationships that lead to sales, a large percentage of marketers who take that time to do so are seeing great results. The real long-term value in a social media campaign is in the building of relationships, cultivating thought leadership, and remaining engaged with your potential customers so that you are top of mind when they are ready to make a purchase.
Major Findings at a glance:
- Social Media Overall – 83% of marketers indicate that social media is important for their business. 65% of marketers found that social media was helpful in understanding the marketplace. Even companies that invested 6-10 hours a week in social media were able to show an increase in business partnerships and lead generation, and of those who had 3 or more years of experience in social media, 72% saw new partnerships and 78% saw more leads.
- ROI – 40% of all social media marketers want to know how to measure the return on investment (ROI) of social media and find customers and prospects.
- YouTube – 76% of marketers plan on increasing their use of YouTube and video marketing, making it the top area marketers will invest in for 2012.
- Google + - 40% of marketers are using Google+, but 70% of marketers want to learn more about it and 67% plan on increasing Google+ activities.
- Top Benefits of Social Media Marketing – Business exposure, increased traffic and marketplace insight. 58% of marketers using social media for more 3 years report it has increased their sales. But the report adds that it takes time to develop relationships that lead to sales.
- Top 5 Social Media Platforms – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, blogs & YouTube.
- Time Spent - 59% of marketers are using social media for 6 hours or more each week, and 33% invest 11 or more hours weekly.
- Outsourcing – 30% of businesses are outsourcing some portion of their social media marketing. This amount has doubled since SME’s 2010 report. The top three areas that marketers are outsourcing are design/development, analytics and content creation.
- 3 Other Marketing Focuses – Email marketing, search engine optimization and event marketing.
Our conclusions are that even those businesses that put in 6-10 hours a week into their social media campaigns will see returns. It takes time to see substantially better results, but you will see them. There’s no “Easy” button when it comes to social media, and the more time you invest definitely makes a difference.
Of the more than 3800 businesses that completed the survey for this report, the majority were working in small businesses or self-employed. A smaller percentage worked for larger companies of 100 or more employees.
Social Media is clearly growing and evolving, and this report offers valuable insights into social media – direct from the trenches. A huge thank you to Social Media examiner for putting this together. To read the full report, visit Social Media Examiner’s 2012 Social Media Marketing Industry Report
Rhea Thomas is the Blogger Manager at Splash Media and part of the Content Creation and Script Production team at Splash Media U. You can find her on Twitter @TexasRhea. Click here to see all of Rhea’s blog posts.