State of The Social Marketing Industry

2014 Social Marketing Industry Report by Michael Stelzner

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 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.

2014-05-25 Learn More

#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)  

He helps mainstream businesses adapt their traditional growth practices to a digital world. Connect with Jeff on LinkedInTwitterFacebook, and Google+.

Google+ Rolls Out Personal URLs for Everyone

Author Jeff Korhan on Google+

Sometime last year Google+ began rolling out personal URLs for notable people and organizations.

Just yesterday I received my invitation to do the same, and I gladly accepted. Why?

The Social Web and Search are Getting Personal

The implications of this are more than just shortening your Google+ URL to something that is memorable. This speaks to Google’s mission to deliver the most relevant results for every search query as quickly as possible.

Relevancy used to be associated recency, and it still does. However, moving forward relevancy will also consider the authority of the information being shared, and that makes it personal.

Authority and Influence are Personal

Before digital, media authority was consolidated within organizations and media outlets.

Now, social has democratized media to effectively make every individual their own personal brand. Google understands that authority and influence is now everywhere. This is why they are interested in what you and I have to say.

Regardless of extent of your circle of influence, Google wants to know about it. The reason for this is that influence is now specific, and that means they want to get to know you – and what you know.

Are you ready for this?

Business is Now Personal

It is a fact that most consumers do not trust businesses until they get to know the people within them, especially their leaders.

If you are a business owner of one of its leading managers you can positively affect the authority of your business via your personal brand. You are probably not a celebrity, and neither am I, but we nevertheless have specific influence within the communities that we serve.

And Google wants to know more about that.

The truth is that even remarkable companies can fade away if they are not engaged with the communities they serve. This is now an expectation of your current and future customers.

Therefore, embrace this and commit to being a more personal business.

Obviously, Google is now prepared to help you with this endeavor.

Note:  This is not something you can do on your own. Google will send you an email with a pre-approved URL. You have the option to suggest another, but my decision and that of others has been to accept Google’s suggestion. 

Also, it appears Google’s convention with these URLs is to capitalize the first and last name. Again, probably a good idea to fall in line with Google and stick with that format.


About the Author:  Jeff Korhan, MBA, helps mainstream small businesses create exceptional customer experiences that accelerate business growth. Get more from Jeff on LinkedInTwitter and Google+.

Jeff is also the author of Built-In Social: Essential Social Marketing Practices for Every Small Business – (Wiley 2013)

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