Social Media Marketers Dish on Top Platforms, Formats, and Content Types

April 26, 2023

Consumers are increasingly using major social media platforms, which have become important destinations for learning about brands. In a recent report [download page], HubSpot surveyed more than 1,200 social media marketers around the world to learn about the platforms and formats they consider to be the most effective.

For the purposes of building an active community, the respondents feel that Meta platforms are the best bets, with an equal 25% share pointing to each of Instagram and Facebook as their most effective, ahead of YouTube (14%) and TikTok (10%).

Among respondents who sell through social apps, the largest share (33%) point to Instagram when asked which platform offers the highest ROI when selling products directly in the app, ahead of Facebook (25%), YouTube (18%) and TikTok (12%). Interestingly, consumers say they’re most likely to directly buy from YouTube, while eMarketer projects almost as many social buyers on TikTok as on Instagram within the next couple of years.

Instagram again emerges as a marketer favorite when considering influencer marketing: 27% share said they’ll leverage the platform the most when working with influencers/creators this year, topping Facebook (19%), YouTube (18%) and TikTok (15%).

Not too surprisingly, then, the largest share (23%) point to Instagram as the platform that offers brands the biggest potential to grow their audience this year, besting TikTok (19%). It’s also the platform that the largest portion (25%) believe offers social media marketers the highest ROI, ahead of Facebook (23%), YouTube (14%) and TikTok (12%).

Turning to formats, and here there’s a clear winner in terms of investment priorities. Some 33% share said they plan to invest the most in short-form videos such as TikTok and IG Reels, triple the share of the next-most cited format, long-form videos (11% share). This adds to the body of research indicating keen interest in short-form video: short-form video is the most impactful trend of this year, according to agencies, and marketers also see social video as a key consumer trend.

As for content types, there’s much more parity among those perceived to offer the best ROI on social media. Relatable content (16% share) sits at the top of the pack, but only slightly ahead of trendy content (cultural moments, news stories: 15%), educational/informational content (14%), and interactive content (polls, games, augmented reality, etc.: 13%).

In keeping with research finding that humorous messaging appeals the most to consumers (at least in the US), HubSpot’s study reveals that almost two-thirds (66%) of social media marketers deem funny content to be effective on social media. A majority also report that relatable (63%), trendy (59%), authentic/behind the scenes (59%) and interactive (56%) content are effective.

Other Survey Highlights:

  • 89% of social media marketers say that social search is important to their overall social strategy.
  • 87% believe consumers will search for brands on social media more often than through search engines this year, bringing to mind research indicating that “TikTok is the new Google” for Gen Z.
  • Including relevant keywords and hashtags in posts and bios is considered to be the top strategy to optimize profiles for social search, followed closely by making sure the username is easy to search for.
  • Almost half (48% share) of respondents usually share similar content across platforms, with some tweaks to tailor it to the specific platform, while about one-third (34%) usually make brand new content from scratch for each platform, with the remaining 17% usually re-purposing the exact same content across platforms.
  • Increasing engagement, increasing brand awareness/reaching new audiences and growing the community/following on social media are the top goals for social media marketers this year.
  • The biggest challenge social media marketers expect to face this year is creating engaging content.
  • Most respondents search for new or emerging social media trends either multiple times a day (23% share), once a day (19%), or multiple times a week (34%).

For more, download the report here.

About the Data: The results are based on a January survey of 1,283 social media marketers around the world.


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