There is a lot of these reports going around. Trying to tell you what you may or may not already know. But you know what? When the right questions are asked, there is some really interesting information that can be learnt. And if you knew it already, then you should be using it as an opportunity to reflect upon your current social media marketing practices. In partnership with inbound, a social media publishing tool gathered responses from over 1,200 marketers to create the State of Social Media 2016 report.

I think that the information produced by the state of social media report can help you as you plan your social strategies for 2017 and beyond!

1. Video is peaking and now is exactly when you want to be cashing in

As you can see from the chart above, the biggest thing on the wish list of social media marketers is videos. This isn’t the first time we are all hearing this, either. In fact video, in the form of fully produced videos, 360 videos, live videos and other forms, video has been on the rise for the last couple of years.

I put this down to a couple of things:

  1. Videos are a much more fulfilling way to tell a story
  2. Videos on social media do not need to be to the same standard as a TVC to gain traction
  3. Video production, thanks to competition and tools and technology to help marketers make videos has made pricing now more affordable than ever. But this doesn’t make it cheap. In fact according to the report, respondents said that they lack the time to create videos (72%) and a belief that videos are expensive to produce (41%)

Most importantly though, 83% of people are wanting to put money into video. Excitingly, it’s not just all live video or 360 videos. In other words, it’s not all about whatever the newest shiny object is. In fact, it’s great to see that there is interest in putting more resources into images and into blogs also.

What can you do to make good use of this finding? I think there is a couple of things that you can actually do, based on the state of social media report. Firstly, if you are looking to invest into images then there are cheaper things that you can do than just buying full license images from Adobe Stock or iStock Photo. Just look at Adobe Spark and Canva for both inspiration and free and paid libraries to make your social media glow (and there are plenty of other tools, too). Secondly, for those who are looking to put more time into blogging I would heavily recommend making time to blog on big ticket items. Don’t worry about doing those 45 minute power blogs. Go for the truly useful blogs that you can write and provide to your audience which they are going to spend a good amount of time reading. You want people to be better off for what you write! Not just glazing over picking the big points up.

 

2. Facebook Is Still ‘THE BEST’ Social Media Platform

Whilst there is plenty of bad news going around about Facebook; with the bad results from news feeds, declining organic reach and other issues. 93% of the 1,200 people who responded to the Buffer/Inbound survey agreed. In an article written by Inbound, about three-quarters of the marketers surveyed posted as much or more content in the past 12 months as they did during the 12 months prior. That’s pretty exciting – and shows clearly that most people don’t believe in the hype that Facebook is in the decline. What’s better? 91% invested in Facebook ads as well.

Compared to the other social media channels, Facebook has a far superior ads offering. With it’s fantastic targeting across interests, demographics, locations and other fantastic options. What’s more is that in and out of Facebook ads, Facebook offers incredible message formats.

 

My tip? Continue with Facebook, and if you are having issues with a decline in engagement then it’s time to get creative! Remember those message formats and ads I mentioned above? There are plenty of informative posts and information sources around to help you grasp these opportunities.

 

3. All Marketers have challenges they are trying to overcome

I want to say this right now. There will never be a time when all marketers are just loving life and fully content with where they are. Hell, there will never be a time when good marketers are fully content with where they are. The whole point is to keep growing. Once you stop you are effectively dead in the water.

So overcoming challenges is not a phrase which should be used negatively. It’s a positive sign that people are not dealing with the same issues we were 10 years ago. We as an industry have progressed and seem to be continuing on a path of constant innovation and ability to deal with an ever changing marketing and communication environment.

With that in mind, the top three challenges which marketers have objectives set for (based on the State of social media report) include driving traffic to their website (58%), generate leads (49%), and defining ROI and measurement (42%).

These are activities related to creating and tracking business value of social media.

The best thing you can do is to improve your reporting mechanisms and refine what you are tracking. Look for the information that is actually useful to helping you measure your performance. Do not get information paralysis!

 

4. Know Why You Are On Social Media

There are many reasons why you and your business may be on social media.

Is it brand awareness? 85% of businesses are using social media to increase brand awareness. This is certainly a mindset of many advertising agencies. However, it’s also one of the main reasons that many people use social media when they fully understand their sales funnels. How much brand awareness do you need to drive engagement? How much of that engagement leads to traffic to your website? And the story goes on.

Once you fully understand the reasons why you are on social media, it makes it easier to prioritise how you distribute information and convey messages.

Community engagement is ranked as the second highest reason for being on social media. Social media isn’t only about promoting our own content anymore. It is about engaging and interacting with our followers. This I believe has built up the ranks, as the mindset of social media marketers has shifted to engage communities, not just talk at them.

Social Media is just another place for marketing. As a result, you need to know your objective, how you are going to measure them, and then create your social media marketing plan as a result.

 

5. What else was learnt in the State of Social Media study?

There was plenty more that came out of the State of Social Media report. Here is just a few notes:

  • Most social media marketers are working across more than just one task. The top roles are content marketing, email marketing and community.
  • Surprisingly, Google+ is the top channel marketers feel they will invest less time in over the next 12 months.
  • Twitter is ranked second with 23% of the respondents saying they’ll use Twitter less in 2017.
  • Marketers are finding it difficult to make time to dedicate to both social media (41%) and planning and scheduling content (37%).
  • Only 7% of companies have decreased their social media marketing budgets.

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