Despite being lumped together under the social media banner, not all social sites are the same, a difference that is reflected in how social media is used by marketers.
In May 2013 Michael A. Stelzner of the Social Media Examiner looked at how companies use social media in his "2013 Social Media Marketing Industry Report." He polled about 3000 marketers in both the B2C and B2B industries to get their thoughts on this subject. From their responses the TopWebDesignSchool created its Selling Social infographic, highlighting current trends and predicting future ones.
Facebook, Long May She Reign
According to the infographic, 79 percent of marketers use digital marketing channels, alongside other traditional methods and 86 percent see social media as important -- but the channels used differ. Facebook rated the highest use at 92 percent, followed by Twitter and LinkedIn. Less popular were podcasting, daily deal sites like Groupon and question and answer sites, all used by less than 10 percent of the marketers polled.
Along with this Facebook was also considered the most viable platform at 49 percent, which was well ahead of Twitter at 12 percent and LinkedIn at 16 percent.
How is Social Media Used?
Many marketers use social media because it can increase exposure and traffic of their brands. Eighty nine percent and 75 percent noted respectively increase of exposure and traffic as the catalysts for including sites like Facebook and LinkedIn in their marketing campaigns. Other reasons for using social media include developing a more loyal fan base, improving search rankings, improving sales and reducing marketing costs.
These efforts are paying off. Over half of the companies surveyed found that if they spent more than 40 hours a week on social media marketing they earn more customers, but also something as small as six hours a week can make a difference. Despite these numbers, some aspects of digital marketing still need work, as only one in four marketers surveyed are able to measure their company’s ROI on these social activities
Looking to the Future
As for where the industry is headed, most social media sites are expected to see an increase in use by digital marketers. YouTube will see a 69 percent increase, followed by 66 percent from Facebook and blogging and 65 percent from LinkedIn. Sites that won’t see much of change are social bookmarking, geo-location, question and answer and daily deal sites.
B2B vs. B2C
Even though the infographic covered a fair amount of the report, there are few other notes that B2B marketers should be aware of.
When compared with B2C marketer’s 36 percent, only 29 percent of B2B businesses found Facebook marketing effective and B2C companies were more likely to build social media fan base. B2B businesses were more likely to use social media for the purpose of gaining insight and intelligence.
The types of networks that these two groups use is also quite different. The most popular networks for B2B marketers were LinkedIn, Facebook and blogging and B2C marketers use Facebook, Pinterest and Google+. On the other hand, B2B businesses were more likely to use Twitter and content marketing than B2C businesses and only 11 percent of B2C businesses use blogging, while 17 percent of B2B businesses did.
While the types of social media sites being used by marketers varies, as does their reason for using them, whatever the platform of choice, social media marketing is becoming a more useful tool for both B2B and B2C businesses.