If you’re using social media in your marketing mix (who isn’t?), it’s helpful to learn how other businesses approach it, too.
The recent Social Media Content Optimization Survey by Software Advice (in partnership with Adobe) shows some interesting findings about how marketers use social media. Nearly half of the respondents were from businesses with between one and ten employees. My thanks to Jay Ivey, Managing Editor and Researcher at Software Advice, for sharing the results – and his insight – with me for this post.
Back in March of this year, I posted about the study’s early results, but the completed report includes new discoveries about marketers’ social media habits including:
- 84 percent regularly post on at least three social media networks. And there are more marketers who post on 10+ networks than who post on just one!
- 70 percent post at least once a day to build brand awareness and rapport with their audiences. 19 percent say they post more than three times each day.
- 41 percent say they schedule their social content several days to one week ahead of time. 65 percent schedule their content at least one day in advance. Just 12 don’t have a plan for scheduling posts in advance.
- 82 percent say using images is “important” or “very important” for optimizing social media content.
- 67 percent say using hashtags is “important” or “very important” for optimizing social media content.
- 35 percent believe it’s “very important” to test the rates of sharing content at various times of the day/days of the week so they can better understand when people are more receptive and engaged.
- 74 percent were at least “moderately successful” in gaining new followers on social media, and 77 percent said the same about their efforts to build brand recognition. 29% say they have been “successful” in nurturing relationships through their social media endeavors.
- 43 percent do not yet use social media management tools (such as Buffer, Hootsuite, TweetDeck) to manage their social media content
Social media habits as expected or a big surprise?
The fact that some marketers post on over 10 social networks regularly surprised me. I’m maxed out on 4. And I would have thought more marketers would be using social media management tools of some sort. At the very least, using Twitter because of its faster and more furious pace than other networks. I was also somewhat surprised at how few marketers said they think video is important. I’m personally more inclined to read blog posts and other text content over video and podcasts, but there’s no shortage of hype about video’s brand-boosting power.
But that’s just my take on it. I asked Jay a few questions to find out what stood out for him and what he thinks other small business marketers can take away from it.
Q. How do you see the findings helping solopreneurs or small business owners who use social media?
A. One immediately actionable finding is that marketers who use software tools had less trouble achieving goals through social media, with 51 percent of those who used tools saying they found it “fairly easy” or “extremely easy” to optimize social content. That’s compared to only 35 percent of those who didn’t use tools. So with all the affordable and free options available, there’s really no good reason for marketers not to look into social media management software.
Q. Was there anything in the results that surprised you? Why?
A. I was surprised by how many marketers planned their social media content out in advance. Forty-one percent said they prepared posts several days in advance, with another 10 percent saying they scheduled posts weeks or even months in advance. In addition, most posted multiple times a day across at least four social networks. So there’s little doubt that many marketers have made it a priority to consistently and systematically generate social content across a range of channels. However, whether or not that content is tailored effectively to achieve real results is still up for debate.
Q. Is there anything else you’d like to communicate about the study?
A. I found it very interesting how our source, Liz Strauss, interpreted some of these results. She felt it was backwards that more marketers prioritized visual content than prioritized the identification and targeting of specific sub-audiences. As she put it, “If you don’t know who your content is built for, then you’re not going to send them the right kinds of signals.” And this may suggest a troubling lack of understanding about basic strategic principles required to achieve real, measurable results through social media.
Your turn! Did any of the study results surprise you? How does your approach to social media differ from what most of the businesses reported in the survey?
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By Dawn Mentzer
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