How important is Social Media Marketing to your organisation?
Perhaps as recently as five or six years ago the ‘tools and tactics’ available to SMEs (particularly those working in the B2B arena) to market their products and services were very different from the plethora of options on the table today.
You would have to have been living on Mars not to see the impact Social Media has had on the marketing landscape – both in terms of how firms go to market and how they communicate with their various stakeholders.
This statement is supported by an annual study carried out by Social Media Examiner with their most recent report highlighting how Social Networking sites are becoming an increasingly valuable resource for marketers.
According to the study; 92% of marketing professionals believe Social Media is important for their company. This is described as a ‘significant’ proportion and an increase on the figure of 86% recorded a year ago. “Marketers place very high value on Social Media,” the report observed.
The report identified the most significant benefits of Social Media Marketing as increasing brand exposure and increasing web traffic. 92% of responders indicated their Social Media efforts have generated more exposure for their businesses, whilst in terms of increasing web traffic 80% reported positive results.
Facebook was identified as the most important Social Media platform with 54% of marketers naming the site as the one they depend on the most. Meanwhile, 17% cited LinkedIn as the most valuable social networking site for their business.
However, the survey showed that many marketers are interested in learning about new and emerging platforms. For instance, figures indicated that while Google+ is already used by more than half of marketing professionals nearly two-thirds are keen to learn more about it. In addition, a similar proportion said they plan to step up their Google+ presence this year.
Clearly, if you identify that your customers ‘hang out’ on Google+ then you should consider how you can leverage this platform to raise brand awareness and promote your goods or services.
However, before embarking into Social Media (or choosing to dedicate more time to it) firms should be sure they can dedicate the right amount of resource (people and budget) to actively manage their campaigns.
The report clearly highlights the power and influence of Social Media Marketing yet it also indicates that while marketers are happy to embrace it they are not always sure if their efforts are yielding positive results – just one in three respondents said they believe their marketing activities on Facebook are effective. It is therefore vital that key performance indicators are identified and monitored from the outset.
As a final thought, it is vital to perhaps consider ‘the lure of Social Media’ as just one option in your marketing toolbox; traditional tactics such as targeted direct mail, sponsoring an event, exhibiting at a tradeshow or creating an advert for the radio are great examples of ‘tried and tested’ offline marketing activities!