What 1200+ of the World’s Best Marketers Think About the Future of Social Media

How do other social media teams spend their time? What are the networks to be on? Where are the opportunities? We know these questions can be quite useful as you reflect on 2016 and look ahead to 2017. And we’d love to shed some light!

At Buffer, they love to learn about how social media marketing is changing and what other social media marketers are doing. And with your help, they gathered responses from over 1,200 marketers to create the State of Social Media 2016 report.

We hope that this information can help you as you plan your social strategies for 2017 and beyond!

5 Key Takeaways Social Media Marketers Need to Know

1. Video is about to hit the peak! Now’s the time to get on

A key theme of the results is video marketing. It feels like video marketing it about to hit the peak and now is the time to get on.

When asked which type of content they would like to create more of if there were no obstacles like time, resources, and budget, 83 percent of the marketers surveyed said video content.

video-marketing

This also matches the channels most marketers are looking to add to their marketing stack in the next 12 months. The top four channels are Facebook video (30%), YouTube (28%), Instagram (26%), and Snapchat (22%) – all of which are heavily reliant on video content.

However, marketers are held back by several factors. Mainly, they felt that they lack the time to create videos (72%) and a belief that videos are expensive to produce (41%). So if you are able to figure a quick and affordable way of creating great videos, you will be able to stand out from the rest.

What you could do:

The best thing to do here could be, simply, to get started with videos and be creative. Videos don’t always have to be full production-grade. A recording of yourself, shot using a smartphone, sharing tips and tricks can be both valuable and personal. Slideshows videos are even easier to create and still work great. Live video is also an interesting option to experiment with as it has yet to hit mass adoption (in fact 71% of marketers in our survey said they were yet to create any live video).

2. Facebook is Still the Dominating Social Media Marketing Channel

If you are not sure which social media channel to focus on in 2017, consider Facebook.

Even with the decline in organic reach on Facebook, it is the top channel that marketers surveyed (93%) are currently using. 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. Almost every marketer surveyed (91%) invested in Facebook ads, too.

social-media-marketing

Also, as mentioned above, Facebook video is the top priority for marketers in 2017. When looking at live videos specifically, marketers surveyed prefer Facebook Live (73%) over other channels such as Periscope (44%) and YouTube (20%).

What you could do:

If you have the budget for social media ads, Facebook ads might be the most worthwhile investment at the moment. Otherwise, with Facebook seemingly prioritising videos on the newsfeed, it could be great to experiment with videos and Facebook Live.

3. Most Marketers are Still Unsure How to Create Business Value Through Social Media

The top three challenges marketers face with social media are: driving traffic to their website (58%), generate leads (49%), and defining ROI and measurement (42%).

social-media-challenges

These are activities related to creating and tracking business value of social media. Social media marketing is seen as a priority for most marketers, with only 7% of the companies decreasing their budget in this area. It becomes even more important to be able to drive and measure social media’s value to business.

If you are able to do that, you will stand out from other marketers.

What you could do:

Spreadsheets can be a great place to start. By manually tracking the stats that matter, you can get a deeper understanding of your social media performance. If you can afford, tools with inbuilt analytics and reporting system such as SumAll can make things much easier.

4. Know Why You are on Social Media

Before you dive into creating content and tracking numbers, it might be great to take a step back and consider your goals for social media.

There are numerous reasons for being on social media, and it feels great to know why you want your business to be on social media before planning your social media marketing plan. From the survey, the top reason is brand awareness, followed by community engagement and content distribution.

social-media-goals

With changes to social media such as the timeline algorithms, we have to adapt the way we view and use social media. It’s interesting to note that community engagement is ranked higher than content distribution. Social media isn’t only about promoting our own content anymore. It is about engaging and interacting with our followers.

We also have to adapt to the way people are using social media. More and more customers are bringing their issues to brands through social media instead of emailing or submitting a support ticket on the brands’ website.

Yet interestingly, only 21% of businesses are using social media for customer support. There feels like a great opportunity for businesses to stand out and support customers on social media to help reinforce the brand loyalty.

What you can do:

Start by thinking about your social media goals before creating your social media marketing plan. Instead of “seeing what sticks”, be driven by your goals and implement tactics accordingly.

5. Generalists are Valued

But it isn’t only about understanding social media.

From the survey, only 15% of the respondents focus solely on social media management. Most of them are also working on other areas such as content marketing, email marketing, community, and more.

social-media-management

As the majority of the respondents are from small-medium businesses, this might be hinting to the value of being a generalist (or T-shaped marketer) over being a specialist in small-medium businesses. This is understandable as most employees in small-medium businesses tend to wear multiple hats in their role.

My hunch is this extends to bigger companies too. Jay Baer, the president of Convince and Convert, once wrote,

“What does a social media manager do now? Not long ago, he or she was primarily a writer, using sentence fragments to stoke the passions of customers. Now, that same position may require robust photography, video editing, paid advertising, and analytics capabilities.

And how does that social media manager differ from or intersect with a content marketing manager? Is a video social or content? Is YouTube a social network or a content platform?

And what about customer service? Is Twitter a marketing channel or a customer service channel? Does the social media manager using Twitter to delight potential customers also handle inquiries from current customers needing support? Is Facebook a marketing channel or a support channel? The same question applies to Facebook Messenger, perhaps even more so.”

Other Key Insights

Here are other key insights from the report that might interest or surprise you:

  • 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 also struggling with finding time to dedicate to social media (41%) and planning and scheduling content (37%).
  • Few marketers are using Medium (10%) and Quora (5%) as marketing channels.
  • Only 5% of the respondents are using Snapchat On Demand Filters.
  • Only 7% of companies have decreased their social media marketing budgets.

Source: Inbound.org

Get to know the latest and most relevant social media insights with the help of the digital marketing experts.

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