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As more and more businesses recognise the importance of social media, the research on just how marketers are using the available platforms is fascinating. Not only are the findings interesting but they also help develop our understanding of the market, consumers and competitors.

To save you hours of skimming through research materials, we have compiled some of the key insights from a number of social media reports released this year.

Insight #1 – Popular platforms

Facebook remains the most widely used platform, however marketers have big plans for LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube in the future, according to a Social Media Examiner Report1. With 347 million users on LinkedIn, 288 million monthly active users on Twitter and 1 billion on YouTube2, this is not much of a surprise.

The majority of people with access to social media platforms (1.4 billion active users2), from your 13 year-old nephew to your newly tech savvy grandma, is on Facebook. You can share videos, images, stories and experiences and even do your Christmas shopping on the platform. It’s no wonder it is the most popular among B2C marketers as well. If you’re selling a product or a service, chances are your clients are on Facebook.

If your business relies on B2B channels and you’re not on LinkedIn – get on it. NOW! In the B2B market, LinkedIn is the place to be – it is predicted to overtake Facebook and become the leader in B2B marketing by the end of 20152.

With hushed releases of new advertising avenues at the end of last year, Twitter is fast becoming a marketers dream. Promoted tweets allow businesses to pay for objective-specific outcomes like retweets, clicks, replies etc.

Businesses targeting Gen Ys and Zs need to be on YouTube as more than half of 16-24 year-olds ‘love’ the platform2. Budgets may need to increase to remain competitive, but video is certainly the way of the future. According to Cisco3, 69% of all online consumer traffic will consist of video by 2017.

Insight #2 – The future

Mobile

Mobile marketing continues to rise, as smartphones start to closely resemble an addiction for users – they check their phones 100 times per day2! Smartphones are the second most popular device to search the world wide web – 80% of net users browse using their phones4. The extent of mobile power is clear in another Cisco whitepaper4:

  • 2013’s global mobile data traffic was 30 times larger than global internet in 2000
  • Increase of 45% in average smartphone usage in 2014
  • 2014 saw an increase of 20% in mobile connection speed
  • 497 million new mobile devices and connections were added in 2014

Video

The same Cisco paper4 writes that 55% of total mobile data traffic consisted of video in 2014. There are a variety of platforms and apps now available for video viewing and sharing, however the number of hours spent on YouTube is increasing by 50% each year2.

Most of us are visual learners, which can explain the rise of video’s popularity. While currently only 57% of marketers are using video, 72% want to learn more and include it or increase their use of it in the future1.

Insight #3 – What’s working and what’s not

ROI – needs improvement

While the majority of marketers currently use social media regularly (64% use platforms for 6 hours or more per week) and 92% say it is important to their businesses, only 42% are satisfied that ROI can be effectively measured1.

Benefits – exposure and traffic

Marketers tend to use social media to increase the exposure of the business and to generate and increase traffic. This seems to be working, as 91% say they’ve increased their exposure and 81% are happy with site traffic1.

Engagement – uncertainty

According to a Hubspot Benchmarking report6, frequency of posts on social media are not directly linked with level of engagement. The number of followers might be a better indicator. As different audiences respond differently and engagement across industries has been very varied, an ideal balance of great content posted fairly regularly to a large audience (the larger the better) is your best bet to increasing engagement.

 

References:
1 Social Media Examiner, 2015 Social Media Marketing Industry Report, May 2015
http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/SocialMediaMarketingIndustryReport2015.pdf

2SMK 2015 Social Media Trends & Opportunities http://smk.co/files/reports/SMK_SocialMediaTrends_2015.pdf

3Cisco Visual Networking Index: Forecast and Methodology, 2014-2019 White Paper
http://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/solutions/collateral/service-provider/ip-ngn-ip-next-generation-network/white_paper_c11-481360.html

4 Cisco Visual Networking Index: Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast Update 2014–2019 White Paper
http://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/solutions/collateral/service-provider/visual-networking-index-vni/white_paper_c11-520862.html

5 Mobile Marketing Statistics 2015: July 2015 update
http://www.smartinsights.com/mobile-marketing/mobile-marketing-analytics/mobile-marketing-statistics/

6 Hubspot 2015 Social Media Benchmarks Report
http://offers.hubspot.com/social-media-benchmarks-report
 

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