Social Media Examiner has released its latest annual report on social media marketing for the marketing industry. This year’s report is based on the responses of more than 2800 marketers and industry professionals, and reveals that certain practices are still in trends, as well as a few new surprises. The most notable outcome was the emphasis being placed on social media marketing, with 92% of marketers saying that social media marketing was an important driving factor for business. But, as we move deeper into our digital landscape, clear trends and patterns are emerging in the data.
Let’s have a look at some of the key findings from the report and what they mean for your social strategy this year.
1. Blogging Is Back In Fashion
We have come full circle, and as always have come back to the cornerstone of good content: blogging. This year’s report shows that marketers are investing renewed importance in blogging as a means to drive social media strategy. Not only does regular blogging attract readers through interesting content, but it lays the platform for an effective social media strategy that dishes out more of the content that readers want to see on their favorite channels. And that, of course, leads to higher engagement levels.
If you were hoping for a quick fix, on-trend idea to pick up your social media strategy, go back to the drawing board. This year’s most successful campaigns are pegged to be built on content, and blogged content at that.
2. Facebook Is Falling From Grace
No longer the new kid on the block, Facebook is now being outperformed in many respects by other channels that it helped to lay the foundation for a decade ago. As the menu of social channels available has become more diverse, markets are becoming more entrenched in their favorite platforms and less enamored with Facebook.
However Facebook is still the social channel of choice when it comes to marketing directly to consumers. The biggest shift that seems to have occurred is that businesses are looking to invest their resources in other channels. LinkedIn is still the most popular and frequently used social channel for business, followed closely by Twitter.
From a consumer and business point of view, Facebook’s conversion to monetization has not been a smooth transition, as VentureBeat.com states:
In protest of what Facebook has become, thousands of users have installed a new Chrome Extension, “News Feed Eradicator for Facebook,” to silence Facebook’s news feed. And tech-savvy Safari users have opted to eliminate Facebook’s News Feed via a simple CSS tweak.
3. Google + Is Also Building Momentum
No longer wanting to be outdone by its more successful social counterparts, Google + is ramping up its efforts at attracting users. And, not surprisingly, the fact that it is owned by the world’s largest search engine has made this relatively easy. The added optimization benefit to being active on Google + is the extra endorsement you receive within the search results. It is effectively, a higher internal search ranking to other Google+ users, particularly with those in whose circles you find yourself.
Hubspot puts it like this:
This brings me to the first and most important reason to set up a Google+ business page. By setting up a G+ page for your company, you expand its visibility for searchers. In practicality, your company’s profile image, recent posts, and number of followers are eligible to show up on the right-hand side of Google search engine results pages when it is relevant to the searchers query.
And, of course, if you read point one and really do want to be more successful with blogging, Google + is one platform you cannot neglect.
4. Podcasting Is The New Kid On The Block
While podcasting is still gaining traction it is one tactic that marketers are intent on improving their performances in. According to an Entrepreneur.com review of the report:
With 28 percent of marketers wanting to learn more about podcasting, this is a major shift in priorities and, according to Social Media Examiner is likely fueled by: the global adoption of smartphones, the introduction of Apple’s CarPlay (an in-car system to allow the playing of podcasts via car dashboards) major auto manufacturers integrating dashboards with 3rd party apps.
Marketers that want to get ahead and set trends should add podcasting to their tool set this year. 21% of those surveyed said they would be expanding their repertoire to include podcasts in the coming year.
5. Visuals Are Still Of Great Importance
And while text based content does offer search engine optimization benefit, online users are becomingly increasingly attracted to visuals. Graphics and infographics provide information at a glance, without having to ask too much of the reader. And with concentration spans becoming progressively shorter, video and graphic based content is here to stay.
Even Twitter has got in on the video action with their latest hashtag video feature:
We already know that tweets with videos are more likely to get retweeted than text based tweets. We also know (from Twitter’s own data) than hashtag-led tweets are only 16% likely to be retweeted, compared to videos’ 38%. Twitter wants video-sharing to work on the site so they look to be experimenting with a new feature that brings the hashtag and video tweet together in one handy package.
While it isn’t explicitly clear if this will become a permanent feature, it is a clear sign that the trend is being taken seriously and experimented with. And the only way to tell if it will work for you is to try it out.
Now that social media marketing is no longer a new phenomenon, it is up to marketers to experiment with the different tools at their disposal and to find different combinations of what works effectively. Certainly some industries and niches will respond better to certain channels than others, but this latest report shows that high quality content, whether text based or visually founded, is what will lead your strategy going forward.