We’re almost at the midpoint for this year, making this an ideal time to assess your social marketing efforts and reallocate resources as necessary.
To give you some benchmarks, I’ll be sharing research results from the 6th Annual Social Media Marketing Industry Report from Michael Stelzner and our friends at Social Media Examiner.
This is a hefty 50-page report that provides interesting insights from the responses of over 2,800 marketers like you and me. It answers many of the questions we all have in regards to preferred social media channels, types of content, and more.
You can download the full report from the link below, but you will want to act fast as it will only be available until May 30th.
In the time we have today, let’s take a look at 5 of the more significant takeaways.
#1 – Visual Storytelling is Hot
Here at JeffKorhan.com we have focused on storytelling this month because it is one of the cornerstones of content marketing and social media. Now that channels such as Pinterest, Instagram, and Google+ are catching on, visual storytelling with images, audio, and video are rapidly gaining momentum.
From the beginning, we’ve all recognized rich content to be one of the chief advantages of the social media platform. If you want to make your content not only come alive, but to also be memorable, it is becoming essential to use visual content such as the graphics I’m sharing with you today from the industry report.
#2 – Facebook Advertising is a Necessity
Remember the days when other than your investment in time, social media was free? That has long ceased to be the case with Facebook, and will soon prove to be true with all of the social media networks.
Facebook advertising was quite economical in the early days, but as marketers continue to increase their budgets, Facebook advertising is becoming a sophisticated practice. Therefore, take full advantage of opportunities to advertise on all of the other channels while the going is good.
#3 – Learning Google+ is a Top Priority
The one channel marketers want to learn more about is Google+. This is primarily due to the general understanding that Google+ presents unique opportunities for building your online identity and authority.
You may have learned that the leadership of Google+ recently changed, which has some questioning its future. Let’s be clear about one thing: All of the social networks should be considered “rented land.” So, be sure you are building an online presence on a site you own and control.
When it comes to Google+, I’m confident of two things. The nature of Google+ will change just as the other networks will. However, there is no question Google+ will survive as a resource for growing your business. Why?
Google is in the content business, and social provides valuable context that adds value to that content. This is why Google co-founder Sergey Brin took over the CEO role at Google in 2011 to focus specifically on social search.
#4 – Email Marketing is Preferred for Sales Conversion
Regular readers of this newsletter know that the majority of leading marketers name their email newsletter as their number one sales conversion tool. This is why everything else is designed to drive subscriptions to it.
This week I recorded one of my first podcast interviews (available early June) with Chris Brogan. If you don’t know Chris, he has over 200,000 followers on most of his social media channels. Yet, he points out in our discussion that he receives little or no business from any of them. It all comes from his newsletter.
Email does indeed convert, but only if it provides great value too. Your newsletter subscribers want and deserve your very best. If you consistently honor that, conversion becomes a natural by-product of the ongoing conversation.
#5 – Podcasting is a Growing Differentiator
Serious marketers are getting into podcasting for a variety of reasons, with one of them being that its much easier for audio content to stand out because there is far less of it available than other formats.
On a practical level, every person you interview for your podcast becomes a willing marketing partner, at least for that show. Podcasting is also a great way to meet other industry leaders as you effectively collaborate to help each other.
Probably the best reason for creating audio content is that it tends to be more personal. Think of it as the future of talk radio. Your personality will naturally emerge as you communicate your message to your audience that is giving (nearly) their full attention as they commute, exercise, or just pass the time.
As promised, here is where you can download the 2014 Social Media Marketing Industry Report. Check it out, as there is a whole lot more to learn about the myriad questions that small business marketers share.
About the Author: Jeff Korhan, MBA, is the author of Built-In Social: Essential Social Marketing Practices for Every Small Business – (Wiley)