We often read favourable reports about the social media.
Many people involved in advertising will tell you that it’s the best thing since sliced bread, and that you really are missing a trick if you don’t get a piece of the action. The question you have to ask yourself is, is this really true?
Is social media marketing right for your business?
Well, the problem you’ll face is that there is little concrete evidence on which to base your opinions: most of the evidence is in fact anecdotal which isn’t particularly helpful. Occasionally though reports are published which actually manage to put some flesh on the bones. One such report is the Social Media Examiner Report. Social Media Examiner (SME) published its fourth report last week. So what you might think: why should we pay attention to yet another report from the other side of the pond? Well, SME is the world’s largest online social media magazine, and is designed to help businesses discover how to best use social media tools like Facebook, Google+, Twitter and LinkedIn to connect with customers, generate more brand awareness and increase sales. It’s also very popular, with a monthly readership of over 600,000. So we think you can safely say it knows what it’s talking about.
What are the conclusions of the 4th Social Media Examiner Report?
The report was commissioned to give companies a greater and deeper understanding of the role of social media marketing in business. SME sought to find out which businesses used the social media ad why. The study analysed the responses of 3,800 businesses, mainly based in the U.S, but from all different sectors of the market. The conclusions of the 42 page study make very interesting reading. Listed are 5 of the major conclusions:
- The major benefits of social media marketing for businesses are increased exposure and increased traffic. 85 percent of respondents reported increased customer exposure after using the social media, whilst 69% of respondents stated that they had seen a marked increase in website traffic after using the medium.
- 55 percent of respondents claimed improved search rankings as a direct benefit of social media marketing. What is surprising is that figure is down on last year’s index of 62%. The only way to call this properly according to the report is to wait and see what the figure is next year.
- Many businesses claimed that the social media was a valuable tool for gaining market insight. The study discovered that B2B companies (68%) were significantly more likely to use social media for insight-gathering than B2C companies (59%)
- Converting fans/followers into loyal customers and brand ambassadors is a lengthy process. That’s hardly surprising when you think about it. Yet the report clearly demonstrates that the businesses that benefit the most are the one who invest the largest amounts of time. 60% of the companies spending at least 6 hours a week working on the platform found benefit in using social as a platform to acquire loyal customers: businesses spending 5 hours a week or less only reported conversions rates of less than 46%.
- 40% of survey respondents were using Google+, which is an interesting statistic in itself as the platform has not even been running for a year. However, that figure is dwarfed by Facebook. Facebook’s market penetration is calculated at 92%. Still, as Google is leveraging its search dominance to boost its own social network, the importance of having a business presence on Google+ can’t be underestimated.