Social Media Marketing Increasingly Mainstream

November 11, 2011

econsultancy-social-media-marketing-efforts-nov11.gifAlmost 2 in 3 companies describe the extent of their social media activity as either heavy (21%) or average (43%), representing a 21% increase from 2010, according to [download page] a November 2011 report from Econsultancy in partnership with LBi and bigmouthmedia. Data from the “State of Social 2011 Report” indicates that concurrent with this increase is a drop in the proportion of companies that say they have only experimented with social media, (down 23% from 40% in 2010 to 31% this year), indicating that more marketers are moving beyond experimentation with the channel and giving it a mainstream role within their organization.

The same pattern is evident on the supply side: while fewer agencies say their clients are experimenting with social media (46% this year vs. 56% in 2010), a greater proportion say their clients are either engaging an average amount (39% vs. 34%) or are heavily involved (13% vs. 8%).

The maturation of social media marketing is likely due to the positive effects marketers are seeing: according to an April 2011 report from SocialMedia Examiner, 88% of marketers believe their social media efforts have generated more exposure for their businesses, while 72% have experienced improved traffic and subscribers. Furthermore, according to a November report from Webmarketing123, social media leads have proved valuable, with 55% of marketers reporting having closed a deal from a social media lead.

Twitter Leads All Platforms

87% of global company respondents to the Econsultancy report use Twitter as part of their social media marketing or online PR activity, compared to 82% who use Facebook. The other giants of the social media space, YouTube (69%) and LinkedIn (57%), are also used by a majority of companies. After that, there is a considerable drop-off to the next platforms, with 19% reporting use of Wikipedia, ahead of Foursquare (15%), Google+ (14%), Vimeo (13%), and Stumbleupon (12%). Delicious and Digg (both at 11%) are the only others with double-digit penetration. The report notes that when the survey was conducted Google had not officially launched a version of Google+ for businesses, but that some companies may have included a +1 button on their site.

Compared to 2010, the proportion of companies using Twitter rose 5%, while YouTube’s popularity grew 19% and LinkedIn’s 12%. Of the top 4 channels, Facebook’s penetration rose the least, inching up 2.5% from 80% in 2010. Meanwhile, Foursquare almost doubled its popularity, increasing to 15% of company respondents from just 8%.

Among supply-side respondents the top 4 also dominates, although Facebook (92%) nudges Twitter (88%) for the top spot.

More See Range of Facebook and Twitter Purposes

econsultancy-social-media-platforms.jpgAccording to the report, compared to last year, more companies are using Facebook for a variety of purposes spanning from marketing and sales to brand monitoring and customer service. While the most popular use of Facebook remains as a marketing channel, rising 12% from 67% to 75% of respondents, other purposes have seen more drastic rises in popularity. For example, this year 52% are using the social network to react to customer service issues and inquiries, representing a 56% rise from the 29% who did so in 2010. A similar proportion (51%) are using it to gather customer feedback, up 38% from 37% in 2010. The supply-side responses show a similar across-the-board rise in popularity of the various uses of Facebook, with customer service response also making a large jump from 28% to 49% of respondents.

As with Facebook, the biggest increase in how Twitter is used is for customer service, which grew by 43% of company respondents, from 35% to 50%. Meanwhile, usage of Twitter as a marketing channel (77%) and to publicize new content (74%) remain the leading two categories among companies.

Confidence Grows, But Still Room to Improve

Even though Facebook and Twitter have gained widespread use among companies, a majority believe they can do better integrating their use of the platforms into their over-riding social media strategies. This year 37% of companies said they used Twitter well, up 37% from the 27% who reported such confidence last year. Even so, 50% still believe they can improve their use of the channel, although this is down from 59% of respondents in 2010.

Supply-side respondents’ growing confidence in Facebook is more muted: 27% say they are using the social network well, compared to 25% in 2010. Meanwhile, 58% feel they have room to improve, compared to 55% in 2010.

About the Data: The Econsultancy report is based on an online survey of more than 1,000 respondents, carried out in September and October 2011. Respondents included client-side marketers (or PR and online communications specialists) and supply-side respondents working either independently or for a range of different types of agency or technology vendor.

Explore More Articles.

Marketing Charts Logo

Stay on the cutting edge of marketing.

Sign up for our free newsletter.

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This