Companies of all sizes are now socializing with their customers, would-be customers, employees and vendors through social media. Does social media have much room left to grow among businesses?
According to research firm eMarketer, eighty-eight percent of all companies with 100 employees or more are now using social media for marketing. By the end of next year, the firm projects that the level will increase by another three percent, followed by only one percent in 2014, as the percentage of social media marketing companies approaches saturation.
Growth Slowing in Social Media Marketing
The slowing rate of growth compares to the giant leaps only a few years ago, as Facebook and Twitter became commonly known brand names. In 2009, the percentage of companies using public-facing social networks was about 57 percent — an impressive majority at the time for relatively new and unexplored channels of marketing communication.
By 2010, that percentage had jumped 15 percent to 72 percent, followed by a nine percent increase in 2011.
eMarketer distinguishes between the use of social networking for marketing, and the use of social media sites for social networking. In its definition of the former trend, creating a profile and interacting through status updates are among the main activities, while the latter trend brings YouTube and other kinds of social activities into the mix.
Accordingly, eMarketer found that the use of social media sites for social networking, 89 percent of marketers in 2012, is slightly higher than social networking for marketing.
Enterprises Prefer Twitter Over Facebook
In marketing, Facebook is unsurprisingly king of this social media hill of companies with 100+ employees, used by 83 percent of social marketing businesses this year. Twitter is second at 53 percent, and is on target to reach about 64 percent within two years.
YouTube is third at 36 percent this year, rising to only 43 percent by 2014. eMarketer noted that the Google-owned site will likely continue to trail other social venues among this set of businesses, simply because the use of video only has appeal in certain industries.
A recent study of large companies from Burson-Marsteller, however, differs somewhat with eMarketer’s assessment of all companies with 100+ employees. On the one hand, Burson-Marsteller found a similar percentage— 87 percent — of Fortune Global 100 companies are using at least one social media platform, nearly identical to eMarketer’s level. But, for those large companies, Twitter, not Facebook, is the most popular platform, and participation in YouTube is much higher — nearly 80 percent.
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