Report: Future Plans for Focus in Social Marketing

Report: Where Marketers Plan to Focus in Social Media

Yesterday I went over some numbers from the Social Media Marketing Report 2011, which showed how much time marketers invest in social media and how a number of things influenced the channels they focus on. Today, let’s look at where marketers plan to put their efforts in the future.

73% plan to increase usage of YouTube (videos), blogs, Facebook and Twitter while 86% stated they’ll reduce their efforts in MySpace. I’m sure you are utterly shocked about that MySpace percentage.

According to the study, YouTube came out on top as the channel where most marketers plan to increase their efforts. 77% stated they would be doing more on YouTube and/or video marketing. 82% of those companies with 1000 or more employees indicated this as a key growth area.

I’m not all that surprised by this. Video marketing isn’t as easy to jump into as other social channels and can be a little intimidating. So, its growth has been a bit slower, but as marketers witness the incredible power of videos for marketing, they can’t help but want to try their hand at it. They may also be hoping for that big win with a video going viral, but video as a consumer education and product showcase is also powerful.

When it comes to Facebook, 75% plan on an increase in efforts there. Just 3% of those responding stated they don’t plan to use this channel. 80% of B2C marketers will increase time spent here and 83% of large companies intend to do the same.

As the report points out, there seems to be a perception that Facebook can deliver strong results. Of course what you put into Facebook is going to determine what your ROI is. Setting up a Facebook page for your company won’t get you anything if you don’t use that channel to provide people with worth while and relevant content/information.

The hub of all your social media and content marketing efforts is your blog. So, it’s good to see that 75% of marketers surveyed, intend to increase their blogging. Although, this has dropped slightly from last year when 81% stated they would increase it.

Twitter comes in third with 73% intending to increase their efforts here. I love Twitter, but it doesn’t surprise me that marketers might not see it as valuable as other channels. Measurability and advertising opportunities are still developing here.

Next we have LinkedIn with 71% of B2B and only 52% of B2C reporting they plan to increase their efforts. No surprises here really, it’s pretty well accepted that LinkedIn is a focus for B2B more so than B2C.

Only 40% of companies plan to increase efforts in social bookmarking, while more than one in three doesn’t plan to use it at all. That’s a mistake in my opinion because social bookmarking definitely plays a role in Social Marketing Optimization (SMO). You’ve got to do everything you can to share your content on as many channels as possible.

Just 36% of businesses will increase their forum activities and 35% have no plans to use forums at all. Setting up your own forum may be too time consuming and too high maintenance for most and that’s understandable. However, using established forums to reach specific groups can be very effective. It really depends on who your products serve. Many forums sell advertising to support their communities and some offer non-traditional options such as brand Q&A sub forums. If you define your customers as “enthusiasts” then likely there are one or more forums out there where you can reach out to them.

30% of marketers are planning to increase their use of geolocation services such as Foursquare — larger companies are more likely to use it. This number is only going to go up as companies turn more and more to mobile. The combination of smartphones and geolocation can be extremely effective.

Only 19% of marketers will be increasing their use of such services as Groupon, with 25% of those marketers with 3 or more years of social media experience intending to increase their efforts here. People seem to have a lot of tolerance for this kind of marketing approach and I would expect even more players to join Groupon and others in this area which will provide even more options to marketers.

Overall what I find encouraging is the growing awareness among marketers of how important a multi-channel marketing strategy is. Put your blog at the centre of that plan and let all the other channels spoke out from that hub. That’s a sound strategy which has lots of success stories to back it up.