By Sharon A.M. MacLean
Email isn’t going away anytime soon and blogs tops the list of social selling tactics.
These are findings released by Michael Stelzner’s Social Media Examiner when they surveyed 2800 marketers on how social media grows and promotes business. The prominent online business has published results in the The Social Media Industry Report each year since 2009.
The largest group that took the survey work for small businesses of 2-10 employees (34%), followed by the self-employed (19%). Twenty-one percent of people taking the survey work for businesses with 100 or more employees.
This high regard for email and blogging makes sense. Stories previously controlled by key publishers now reach millions of people with internet connections and search engines. As a magazine publisher for business people, it became evident to me as early as 2006 that David Meerman Scott’s New Rules of PR applied to all of us in media. We could leverage the reach of our journalists by converting their copy for online distribution; yet, every other wannabe scribe could do the same thing. Turns out there were hundreds of millions of them.
Here’s more changes Social Media Examiner noted since the 2013 study:
- An ability to develop loyal fans increased to 72% from 65%
- Increased sales attributed to social media rose to 50% from 43%
- 94% of marketers prefer creating original content
- 73% of marketers curate other people’s content
- B2B marketers were more likely to use curated content (78% B2B) compared to B2C (69%).
The written word also rules says Social Media Examiner. “A whopping 81% of marketers plan on increasing their use of original written content.”
Social Boom! CEO Terry Williamson also weighed in for Inner Circle members of the company that he and partner Kim Garst established. Garst’s been named by Forbes among the top 20 bloggers in the world and Social Boom! attracts the world’s leading authorities on social media marketing. Here’s Williamson’s take-a-ways on what marketers are focused on this year.
- The correct target audience. This is huge in a noisy online world of 2.5 billion individuals striving to be heard combined with the ever-changing ways to connect.
- Engagement with followers. Garst says, “It’s Ok to get in front of people but can I get them to talk back to me?” As more businesses become social, those that best engage will stand out.
- Improved search results. This means learning the tools to simplify the task. A whopping 85% of marketers feel they don’t know what tools are best.
- Metrics. Garst also recommends paying closer attention to metrics because that’s what executives need to see when it comes to approving budgets: ROI. Social Media Examiner notes this issue has been top of mind for marketers for the last four years. ‘Nuff said.
The Report states a significant 64% of marketers are using social media for 6 hours or more and 37% for 11 or more hours weekly. This is a slight increase over 2013, when 62% reported 6 or more hours a week. It’s interesting to note that nearly 19% of marketers spend more than 20 hours each week on social media
For people just beginning with social media (less than 12 months of experience), 51% spend 5 or fewer hours per week. However, of folks who have been doing this for 2 years or longer, at least 65% spend 6 hours or more per week on social media activities.
The Industry Report says more than half of marketers who’ve been using social media for at least 3 years report it has helped them improve sales. More than half who spend 6 or more hours per week find the same results and 74% of those who spend 40+ hours earn new business through their efforts.
That number leaves 50% of marketers who report social media has not helped them improve sales. The authors surmise it’s because marketers lack the needed tools to track sales.
This certainly must be true of more than half the people using LinkedIn. The network tells us that professionals are joining LinkedIn at a rate of 2 people per second. Except 55% of these individuals have posted incomplete profiles. I see it all the time when evaluating profiles for sales teams. The profiles are not finished and members are not developing sales funnels.
Following are 5 tools to make your life easier thanks to Kim Garst.
Tagboard for monitoring. This service allows you to track hashtags on major social networks, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+ and Vine. Tagboard saves you time by allowing you to create custom boards with content from each platform.
Social Oomph for frequent posters. This tactic allows you to save and re-use drafts, schedule posts in bulk, and submit social updates via email. It also offers advanced searches that allow you to easily find influential or relevant people to follow, and that will alert you when certain keywords are used on Twitter.
Social mention monitors keywords and hashtags across multiple platforms. Some of the best features of the platform are its simplicity, ease-of-use, and the analytics it gives for specific keywords. Measuring influence in terms of strength, sentiment, passion and reach, it gives you a quick snapshot of the current status of a particular topic or phrase.
Google Alerts is free and allows you to select as many keywords as you like. Each time the word or phrase is used online, you’ll receive a notification. You can track mentions for your brand as well as for your competition.
Swayy gives you a steady stream of content to share across cross platforms with your audience. Keeps your name top of mind.
What about email, you ask? Some might think this platform is obsolete when it comes to growing their business. “Wrong,” says Williamson, “Social media pales in comparison to a list.”
I couldn’t agree more. Yet, business executives regularly tell me they don’t have an up-to-date database… or they don’t have a strategy other than to publish the odd newsletter… or they don’t have email addresses for people on their list. Most business owners fear upsetting their customs with too many emails.
Makes me cringe.
More on email in my next blog post.
Life-long communications strategist Sharon MacLean owned and published a traditional print magazine over 21 years for business people. She now applies her enhanced knowledge in digital marketing to the needs of her clients and believes in the value of combining the best of both worlds.