One of the most influential social media websites – Social Media Examiner – has released this year’s Industry Report. The 50-page report highlights the marketing industry’s current use of different social media platforms and gives insights into future trends we can expect to see.
So what were some of the findings?
Facebook is still popular
With the highest number of active monthly users, it should come as no surprise that Facebook is still the most popular social media platform. In fact, Facebook’s use by marketers grew in 2017 to 94 percent. This was followed by Twitter, although it’s usage decreased from 76 percent in 2016 to 68 percent in 2017. Facebook was the most popular platform for marketers with every level of experience, ranging from 12 months to 5 years experience.
Facebook proves to be popular for both B2B and B2C-focused marketers, with 89 percent of usage in B2B and 97 percent for B2C. However, within the B2B environment, LinkedIn is a close second at 81 percent. This figure is dramatically lower for B2C, at only 44 percent.
62 percent of marketers ranked Facebook as the most important social platform for their business. In this instance, those surveyed were only allowed to choose one option. The second most popular platform was LinkedIn, trailing at 16 percent. Facebook’s level of importance increased from 55 percent in 2016.
Facebook even passed LinkedIn for the first time for B2B marketers. 43 percent of B2B marketers said Facebook was most important, while 37 percent chose LinkedIn. Meanwhile, 72 percent of B2C marketers chose Facebook, with both Instagram and Twitter coming in second at 8 percent.
The report also found 39 percent of marketers have increased their Facebook usage in the past 12 months, and 68 percent plan to increase usage over the next 12 months.
Despite its popularity, only 42 percent of marketers agreed that their Facebook marketing was effective. 54 percent of marketers either didn’t know or thought their Facebook marketing wasn’t working. 53 percent said they saw their News Feed exposure decline, with 42 percent unsure. Only 5 percent stated they had not seen a decline.
Paid social media
Marketers were asked which forms of paid social media they regularly use. Facebook was the clear leader here, with 93 percent of marketers using Facebook ads. This was followed by Instagram at 24 percent.
Marketers were also asked how they will change their paid social media activities in the near future. 64 percent plan to increase their Facebook ads, with 42 percent planning to increase Instagram ads. It is clear these are the most two popular options for advertising, as the majority of marketers stated they do not plan to utilise ads on YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest or Snapchat. Even 45 percent did not plan to use Instagram ads.
Marketers were asked to pick the single most important type of content for social media. For the first time ever, visual images surpassed blogging, with 41 percent saying images was the most important. B2B marketers find blogging to be the most important, while B2C focus more on visual content.
A high percentage of marketers said videos (75 percent), visuals (73 percent), blogging (65 percent) and live video (61 percent) were factors they were going to focus on increasing in the future. Only 26 percent plan to increase their podcast activities, with 60 percent having no plans to utilise it.
This highlights how important visuals have become to a marketing strategy, with 85 percent of marketers using visuals, and 73 percent planning on increasing their usage.
Benefits of social media
Marketers found social media increase their exposure (88 percent) and traffic (78 percent). Only 52 percent stated it improved their sales. However, those that have used social media for more than two years found it helped them improve sales and grew business partnerships.
Marketers only needed to spend as little as 6 hours per week on social media to experience increased exposure. Those who spend 6 hours on social media were also able to see lead generation benefits and traffic increases. It also allowed 68 percent of marketers to gain marketplace insight. 71 percent of marketers who use social media for 6 hours found benefits, compared to 56 percent who use it for 5 hours or less.
It is clear that social media, particularly Facebook, is important and beneficial to both B2C and B2B marketers. However, with the rising popularity of visual content, it is clear that platforms such as Instagram have the potential to play a bigger role in the future.
To read the full report and see its 77 visual charts, head to Social Media Examiner.
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