Here’s the thing about social media: it’s constantly changing. What worked or was trendy last year is now old news.
Every year, Social Media Examiner releases its annual Social Media Marketing Industry Report and looks at how marketers are using social media to grow their businesses. Lucky for you, I’ve picked a few highlights from the report that affect you as a small business owner.
1. Social Media is Taking a Front Seat, Finally
While marketers were slow to adopt social as a marketing tool, that’s less the case now. According to the report, 92% of marketers say social media is very important for their businesses.
What That Means for You: This means you’ll have more competition in trying to vie for your target demographic’s attention, so put thought and effort into what you share on social.
2. Marketers are Slowly Cracking the Code on Social ROI
While the Rubik’s Cube of measuring the ROI of social media isn’t completely solved, more marketers (37% — an 11% increase from 2013) are finding meaningful ways to measure results.
What That Means for You: Measure what matters to you, not someone else. If your goal is to get people to click from your social updates to your site, pay attention to those numbers and assign value so you can determine ROI.
3. Optimizing Blogs for Mobile is More Important
A few years ago, no one cared how their websites or blogs looked on mobile phones. People weren’t accessing the Internet on their phones and tablets as much as they are now. Last year more than half of mobile users accessed the Internet on their phones, and by 2017, that number is expected to grow to 79.2%.
What That Means for You: Make sure your blog looks good and is navigable on smaller mobile screens, otherwise you risk losing major traffic.
4. Marketers are Spending More Time on Social
While it depends on how long marketers have been using social, the gist is that the more experience a marketer has with social media, the more time she spends using it: 64% spend 6 or more hours weekly.
What That Means for You: Spend more time on social! These marketers know something you don’t, and the more effort you put in, the better your results.
5. The Benefits of Social are Getting Better
Social media marketing is helping brands get more exposure for their companies, develop loyal fans, and gain marketplace intelligence. Other benefits include:
- Increasing sales
- Finding business partnership opportunities
- Generating leads
- Reducing marketing spend
- Improving search rankings
- Increasing web traffic
What That Means for You: This goes back to ROI: you’ll get more out of your social efforts than you have in the past, if you put in the time.
6. Blogging is Only Increasing
When asked what they want to do more of in the future, 68% of marketers responded that they wanted to increase their blogging efforts.
What That Means for You: If your blogging strategy isn’t clearly laid out now, handle that, because your competitors are building their strategy to conquer the market through content.
7. Google+ Still Remains a Mystery
Marketers are still learning how to leverage Google+. But they all recognize the value of the social tool: 61% plan to increase their Google+ activities in the coming months.
What That Means for You: Expect more activity on this network. If your audience is there, spend some time figuring out how to reach them.
8. Podcasting is Growing in Popularity
Along with blogs, podcasts are trending right now. While only 6% of marketers use podcasting as a marketing tool, 21% plan to do more of it this year.
What That Means for You: Determine whether podcasts are an effective tool to reach your audience. Remember: everyone has their preferred learning method, be it reading content, hearing it, or viewing it.
9. Facebook is King for Paid Social Ads
No other social network has cornered the market in terms of appealing to a targeted audience through advertising like Facebook. While LinkedIn came in second (20% of marketers use it), Facebook dominated with 90% usage rate.
What That Means for You: If you’ve considered online advertising, Facebook might be a good option, assuming your audience spends a significant amount of time there.
10. Content is King, at Least in Terms of Social Sharing
Of all the types of shares companies provide on social networking, original written content is by far the most popular and successful: 58% use it, whereas only 19% focus on original visual assets.
What That Means for You: Diversifying your shares is always wise, but if your audience responds to your original content, provide more and share more.
This post was first published in allbusiness.com