The Effects of Social Media Marketing in Business
Social media marketing has become the absolute norm when it comes to promoting your business online, but the questions still remain for many marketers: what are the effects? What are the most popular platforms and why? What are the benefits?
In this short article, we’ll share the results of in-depth marketing research, in order for you to get the most out of your social media presence.
The Dominance of Facebook
In January 2018, in a research study of over 5700 participants, 94% of marketers explain they use Facebook to market their business, with two in three claiming that Facebook is the most important social platform in order to see good results, and more than two thirds claiming Facebook to be the most important platform.
It’s easy to see why Facebook is the most dominant social media marketing tool out there today. With 2 billion monthly active users, Facebook is the way to reach a diverse audience just by the click of a button. And not only that, unlike many other online platforms, with Facebook you can target audiences by age, gender, occupation, hobbies, interests, marital status, purchasing habits and more.
Instagram is a Close Second
Despite Facebook still being king of the social media platforms today, Instagram has grown in popularity over the past twelve months, jumping from the #4 slot to #2, knocking Twitter down to #3. It’s clear to see, with over 700 million users, Instagram is paving the way for new ways of marketing.
A significant 66% of marketers are now paying close attention to Instagram alongside Facebook when it comes to marketing their business. And it shows no sign of slowing down either. In a research study of over 6000 marketers, 48% of participants have increased their Instagram organic activity over the last twelve months with 66% planning to increase organic activities over the next twelve months.
What’s the Content?
Of course with social media marketing being the go-to choice for marketers today, it means there is such a diverse range of content - some of which work better with some platforms than others. Content on social media could include: images, copy, blogs, videos, live streams, podcasts, infographics and more.
When asked to identify the forms of content used in social media marketing, 80% of marketers said they use visual assets (images, GIFs, infographics), and a further 63% using videos to advertise their products and services. Blogging is still a popular choice, with 60% of marketers promoting their business via written blog articles.
The biggest change in content in recent years, is the increasing popularity of live video streams, typically on Facebook. In 2017, research showed that 28% of marketers used live videos for social media marketing. However, over the last twelve months, this has steadily increased to 35%.
When asked to select the single most important form of content for marketing their businesses, over ¾ of marketers voted for online videos. Methods selected, ordered by popularity/effectiveness for marketers, are as follows:
The Benefits of Social Media Marketing
No matter the platform, content or money invested, there are numerous benefits to social media marketing, even for small businesses or those with little experience.
Some benefits include:
✓ Increased exposure
✓ Increased traffic
✓ Generated leads
✓ Develop loyal fans/customers
✓ Provide marketplace insight
✓ Increase sales/business
✓ Grow business partnerships
The biggest benefit of social media marketing - especially on large platforms such as Facebook and Instagram - is increased exposure. A significant 87% of all marketers indicated that their social media efforts have generated more exposure for their businesses, and a further 78% of business marketers claimed their website received more clicks and hits after setting up social media platforms for their business. This figure increased after two years of experience, suggesting the sooner you get online - the better. It takes time to develop loyal fans/customers but with experience, and consistent quality content, it pays off.
Social media marketing also has a positive impact on business relationships. More than half of marketers who've invested at least 3 years in social media marketing report that they gained new partnerships.
Is there a difference between B2B and B2C marketing?
There are typical behavioural patterns and choice of platform when comparing B2B and B2C marketers.
As mentioned previously, it’s clear that Facebook dominates the B2C area of marketing, with 75% of businesses selecting it as their preferred method of advertising - with Instagram coming in at a close second.
However, it seems as though this also applies to B2B focuses too. More than half of B2B marketers also prefer Facebook as their number one platform, with the runner up being Linked-In, coming in at a surprisingly small percentage of 28%.
In terms of the future, it’s possible this could change, however. When asked what platforms they would like to learn more about, 79% of B2C marketers claimed they would like to look deeper into Instagram, followed by Pinterest. In the meantime, B2B marketers are focusing their attention on LinkedIn.
In terms of content, B2C put more effort into visual content, compared to B2B marketers prefer to use blogs as a means of driving traffic and engaging audiences.
Where are budgets spent?
Of course when it comes to social media marketing, one of the big questions usually asks where and how to best spend a marketing/advertising budget effectively.
The most popular channel for paid marketing promotions is Facebook, with 72% of marketers claiming they use Facebook Ads on a regular basis. Instagram follows behind at 31%.
And this must be working, because 67% of businesses plan to increase their use of Facebook adverts over the next year, and over half planning to invest in Instagram advertising.
So, what is the most effective platform to market your business?
There’s a reason Facebook is still the most popular platform for social media marketing.
Facebook can provide businesses with the access to a colossal audience, all from diverse backgrounds. This is not new. However, there are also unique over-looked features Facebook can offer to marketers that other platforms cannot.
Facebook is particularly special in the way it offers a targeted digital advertising platform. When creating Facebook advertisements, marketers can target an audience that are more likely to be interested in their products and services. Thus, ensuring that ad content is in front of the right users at the right time.
Another major feature that makes Facebook such a strong marketing tool is their eCommerce integrations. Facebook has now enabled users to easily purchase goods from a company through Facebook just by the click of a button.
As well as Facebook itself, there is also Instagram which is owned by Facebook. Instagram is another hugely popular channel that is making its way to the top of the list regarding social media marketing channels. In fact, many marketers argue that Instagram promises to be one of the best social media platforms for business in 2018. With over 700 million users, half of which claim to follow brand accounts and businesses, Instagram proves to be a popular choice for marketing businesses. This is mostly perhaps due to the engaging visual content the app can offer.
What’s to look out for?
One marketing channel that has proved to increase over the past year, and shows continuous growth in business marketing, is Snapchat. This might come as a surprise but Snapchat has over 100 million daily users, and almost a fifth of those with an online presence claim to have Snapchat account.
Snapchat is expected to be a major player in 2019 and upcoming years, as it is especially useful for businesses who are targeting younger audiences, even if the dominant platforms such as Facebook and Instagram are still winning us over.