The 2017 Social Media Marketing Industry Report by Social Media Examiner is the 9th annual study of how social media marketing is evolving. More specifically, the study brings focus to how B2B and B2C marketers are using social media platforms differently in 2017, the balance of visuals versus text and what B2B social media marketing tactics are on the rise or which ones are falling in favor.
Below are eight noteworthy nuggets that stood out for the team here at Launch Marketing:
1. Including visuals is essential for social media marketing success
The various types of visuals within marketing has been expanding over the last few years to include not only images, but GIFS, memes, video and live video as well. Just over half of the respondents reported that they already use video in their social media marketing efforts, and 28% also report using live video. 75% of marketers plan to increase their use of video as key components of their marketing plans in 2017.
A large majority of marketers already use visuals in their social media efforts – 85% to be exact, and many of them plan on increasing their use of visuals in the coming year. Visuals ranked as the most important type of content creation according to respondents, and blogging as second.
While video content creation is on the rise, there is still a strong focus on blogging, especially for B2B marketers. Overall, these marketers ranked blogging as more important when compared to ranks from B2C marketers, and 65% of all respondents say they plan to increase blogging efforts in the coming year.
2. Using live video in the social media marketing mix is on the rise
Live video continues to be a top digital marketing trend for marketers this year. In fact, 61% of marketers surveyed plan on implementing live video platforms such as Facebook Live, Instagram Live and Periscope into their efforts. Additionally, 69% said they would also like to learn more about live video and how they can better understand the tools available.
The most important factor when deciding whether or not live video is a suitable marketing tactic for your business is to consider what your target audience is most likely to see or be impacted by. If live video content resonates with your audience, it would be good to consider the benefits of implementing it into your marketing efforts.
Consider which of your social media platforms would be best to start a new live video marketing campaign and experiment with broadcasting micro videos at conferences/tradeshows.
3. Instagram is being more widely adopted by marketers
While Facebook (89%) and LinkedIn (81%) ranked as the two most popular social media platforms among B2B marketers, Instagram has been on the rise in the ranks for all marketers.
Just over half of marketers are currently using Instagram in their social media marketing efforts, and many more (63%) plan on increasing their activities moving forward. Even more so, 71% of marketers want to learn more about how to increase Instagram usage as part of their social media marketing mix.
If your organization is currently on the fence about Instagram, now might be a good time to start building a presence to promote your brand and company culture. Consider leveraging their live video features or Instagram ads to promote fun events or customer-focused content that aim to build trust with your brand.
4. Facebook reigns supreme as the most important social network for marketers
Facebook is the most commonly used social media network for marketers, follow by Twitter and LinkedIn. It is also important to note that this is the first time in the history of this study that Facebook passed LinkedIn as the most important platform for B2B social media marketing.
For B2B and B2C marketers alike, there is a big emphasis on utilizing Facebook for marketing their business. The average number of times marketers post to Facebook is 8 times per day, which is particularly high when compared to other social media platforms.
Facebook’s popularity can speak for itself. Even though over half of the respondents reported seeing declines in their Facebook news feed exposure, 39% have increased their posting frequency on Facebook in the last 12 months. And 80% of respondents would like to learn more about social media marketing on Facebook.
5. Facebook Ads are an important component of social media advertising
When asked to identify which platforms marketers regularly use for their paid social media efforts, 93% reported using Facebook ads, followed by Instagram ads at 24% and LinkedIn ads at 16% – for both B2B and B2C marketers.
Facebook ads usage rose from 87% in 2016 which shows the platform’s growing popularity and advertising value among marketers. Additionally, 64% plan to increase their activities in the coming year. If you’re one of these marketers planning to start or increase Facebook ad activities, consider leveraging videos and make sure they are mobile friendly as almost 80% of time spent on social platforms happens on mobile devise.
While social media marketers are interested in Facebook ads, one point of concern is that 40% of marketers don’t know if their Facebook efforts are working. However, it isn’t due to a lack of supporting data. In fact, Facebook’s campaign manager comes with a wealth of reporting data to help you track the performance of your Facebook ads and optimize accordingly. Identify the success metrics that matter to you (i.e. ad clicks, conversions, shares, etc.) and make sure you install the Facebook Pixel to help you get the most out of your Facebook ad campaigns.
6. Twitter and LinkedIn remain critical platforms for social media marketers
While Facebook was chosen as the most important social media platform among B2B and B2C marketer respondents, Twitter and LinkedIn followed close behind. Marketers tend to post a little more to Twitter, with an average of 6 posts per day, just slightly lower than the average number of posts to Facebook per day. As for LinkedIn, marketers curb posting behavior more significantly. On average, marketers post to LinkedIn 4 times a day, half of that to Facebook.
Twitter posts have a shorter lifespan than other social media platforms, in part due to the high posting activity on Twitter. It’s important to take this into consideration when you are planning your social media marketing strategy. Make sure you promote your blogs, case studies, infographics, video and other forms on content across your LinkedIn and Twitter company pages to amplify the reach of your content.
B2B and B2C social media marketers plan on increasing their posting activities on both Twitter and LinkedIn in the next 12 months. And efforts to increase activity have already started. 31% of marketers have increased their LinkedIn posting frequency over the last 12 months, and 56% have plans to increase their activity in the coming year.
Much like Facebook Ads, LinkedIn Ads should be strongly considered for B2B marketers in particular. Check out what B2B marketers should know about LinkedIn Ads to get started.
7. Weekly time commitment matters
Social media has become an essential component of marketing plans, and more than half of marketers who have been using social media for more than 2 years report that it has helped improve sales.
However, as shown in many of the statistics already noted, not all social media marketing efforts are equal. The amount of time spent per week on social media marketing for your business can have an impact on lead generation. Depending on what type of reporting and metrics you are using to track your social media efforts, you may see varying results.
74% of marketing departments that spend more than 40 hours per week on social media saw business growth through those efforts. Even 71% realized the benefit in spending just 6 hours per week on social media marketing, and a majority (56%) of those who spend 5 hours or less per week also reaped the benefits of their efforts.
8. Top social media questions marketers want answered
The following questions below were the most important that marketers want answers to. As you go through the questions take a moment to self-assess and see if you know the answers for your organization.
- What social tactics are most effective?
- What are the best ways to engage my audience with social media?
- How do I measure the return on my social media marketing?
- What are the best ways to use paid social media?
- How do I find my target audience with social media?
While 48% of respondents claimed that social media has not helped them improve sales, this may be due to a lack of a consistent reporting process that is needed to track their sales generated from their social efforts. It is also important to remember that maintaining a social media presence comes with additional benefits, outside of lead generation, that are not always easily measurable such as:
- Raising your company’s brand awareness and exposure
- Establishing your brand as thought leaders and experts in your industry
- Having a direct line of communication to potential customers, industry influencers and current customers
The best way to get the most out of your social media marketing efforts and know if they are working is to fully understand the benefits and unique communication styles of each platform and identify the ones that make sense for your organization to leverage. B2B social media marketing basics are always good to brush up on, especially with growing marketing platforms like Twitter and LinkedIn.