Social media provides immense potential for businesses because consumers habitually log on to it daily and are exposed to companies. It also presents huge challenges for businesses, however, because it’s an ever-changing space that is extremely noisy and crowded.
It can be difficult to keep up with evolving trends on social media, so B2B reviews and ratings firm Clutch partnered with marketing agency Smart Insights to learn the current state of social media marketing; they surveyed 344 social media marketers from around the world to determine the value of social media, the most engaging content to share, common challenges, and what social media resources businesses are investing in.
- 52 percent of social media marketers believe social media positively influences their company’s revenue and sales.
- The five most valuable social media platforms:
- Facebook (89 percent)
- LinkedIn (83 percent)
- YouTube (81 percent)
- Twitter (80 percent)
- Instagram (56 percent)
- The most engaging content on social media:
- Written articles (27 percent)
- Videos (26 percent)
- Images (24 percent)
- Nearly 80 percent of companies share mostly original content on social media.
- The most important metrics for companies are engagement (36 percent) and conversion rates (35 percent).
- Social media is more valuable to B2C (58 percent) than B2B companies (46 percent).
- The biggest challenges with social media are:
- Not having enough human and financial resources (26 percent)
- Lacking a formal strategy (24 percent)
- Building a community of followers and influencers (24 percent)
Social Media Content Gets Attention
It’s really easy for a consumer to become overwhelmed on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media platforms filled with noise from companies trying to promote their brands. How can a company create relevant content in such a crowded space?
In the above survey, articles, videos and images were most successful at engaging customers and breaking through that noise.
“These content types are effective in getting cut-through in newsfeeds, so it’s important to not only use them, but to invest in them so the quality is there,” Smart Insights CEO Dave Chaffey said.
This is where original content intersects with quality design. Between GIFs, memes, Facebook Live and more, a content strategy has to be carefully thought-out and executed. What message do your customers want to see, how are they going to identify with your brand, and what will get them to click on your post or comment on it to garner a conversation?
Social Media Provides Customer Support and Interaction
Sometimes, a seemingly simple social media post, such as one promoting a pair of shoes, can receive several likes, comments, and shares. People can even ask strangers in the feed if they have received their shoes, how long the shipping took, if they liked them, and other questions.
Social media opens the conversation for instant interaction, relationship building, and customer loyalty.
“It’s really important that companies have the right organizational structure to support social media,” said Josh Krakauer, founder and CEO of Sculpt. “A customer support team and a product development team tends to be extremely effective.”
Social Media Leads to Results
Most businesses are data-driven, but social media isn’t a set-in-stone science. For example, you can scroll by an ad that has a picture of a huge scoop of melting chocolate ice cream topped with a mound of whipped cream. You may not think twice about it, but three days later, you may stop by Baskin-Robbins because you were craving a scoop of chocolate ice cream. Social media can contribute to the buyer’s decision-making process like that.
“Social media, unlike other kinds of advertising, can be notoriously difficult to track,” said Steve Pearson, CEO of Friendemic. “Most consumers say it takes many touch points in their customer journey before a purchase. A lot of those are undoubtedly on social media and online review sites, but customers aren’t necessarily citing those when they walk into a business as the last touchpoint that brought them in today.”
Social Media is Essential for Businesses
Social media isn’t going away. As it continues to weave itself into the daily patterns of our lives, more consumers will go to social media for purchasing decisions. Those who have a strong social media presence and branding will increase conversion rates, while those without active social media campaigns could lose potential customers. Which company do you want to be?
About the Author: Kristen is a content writer and marketer at Clutch, a B2B research firm in the heart of Washington, DC. Connect with her on LinkedIn, or reach out with any questions, comments, or concerns at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-840-6690.