Social Content Calendars: Few Plan Far Ahead

ChiefMarketer-Scheduling-New-or-Curated-Social-Marketing-Content-Sept2013How are brands handling the scheduling or addition of new or created social content? That was one question asked of respondents to the latest annual social media marketing survey [download page] from Chief Marketer. According to the study, which found more than 3 in 4 respondents integrating social into their campaigns, social media posting most often happens irregularly without planning (29%), with many also indicating that a few individuals create or post content with only a few days planning (24%). By contrast, less than 4 in 10 respondents said that their calendars are created at least one month ahead of time, whether by a few key individuals (20%) or by multiple stakeholders (16%).

Whatever their calendars, respondents indicate that social is accounting for more traffic to their websites. This year, 29% said they were getting 20% or more of their traffic from social media, up from 13% seeing that level last year. Driving traffic to websites ranked as the second most important strategic social media goal for respondents, behind increasing brand awareness.

In terms of the social channels used to conduct campaigns, Facebook (90%) was predictably the most popular, with Twitter (78%) in front of LinkedIn (69%), and video aggregation sites a somewhat surprising 4th (46%). Google+ (36%) and Pinterest (35%) see more or less equal adoption, while 6% have taken to marketing on Vine.

Within some of those networks, respondents report specific preferences. For example:

  • Custom groups or subgroups (29%) and InMail messaging (22%) are the top ways LinkedIn users leverage the network;
  • Promoting events (61%) and promoting page posts (41%) are the most common Facebook tactics being used or considered (recent research from Socialbakers shows a similar inclination); and
  • Hashtags – both linked (47%) and not linked (32%) to specific campaigns – are the most-used Twitter tools.

The old issue of ROI rears its ugly ahead again in this survey – with a leading 58% of respondents saying that their biggest frustration or challenge in social media marketing is the difficulty in determining ROI. Right behind, 53% complained of the difficulties of attributing sales to social.

About the Data: The Chief Marketer 2013 Social Media Survey was conducted by email in August. The 1,020 respondents were from a variety of industries, including advertising/ sales/promotion or direct marketing agency (29%), manufacturing or CPG (10%), retail/catalog/ distributor (10%), publishing/media (6%), financial (7%) and others, including nonprofits, health care, travel and entertainment. 45% identified themselves as B2B marketers, 21% said they were B2C and 35% said they marketed to both. A little over a quarter of recipients reported revenues of under $250,000, 13% were under $1 million, 20% were under $10 million, 14% were under $50 million, 16% were under $500 million and 12% were over $500 million.