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Social Media Is A "Must Do" For Enterprise Marketers

According to Clutch, a B2B research firm, in a survey of 304 social media marketers at medium and large enterprises in the US, enterprises typically use social media to increase website traffic, enhance their brand image, and target their audience and influencers, but, they also indicate that they struggle to develop a robust social media strategy, track results, and keep up with platform changes.

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At the beginning of 2016, says the report, marketing professionals made a variety of predictions about the future of digital marketing. Some of the most notable forecasts pointed to the increasing importance of data collection, video advertising, virtual reality, and live streaming, as well as social and digital marketing.

Enterprise companies in the US identify Facebook (96%), Twitter (71%), and Youtube (61%), as their top three social platforms. YouTube’s impressive ranking as one of the most popular social media platforms among enterprises, validates the increasing importance of video for social media marketing, says the report.

Selecting the social media platforms that are best for the business is a customized process. The choice depends on the audience to reach, the amount of users on a particular channel, and the type of content to share, says the report. For enterprises, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are most popular, closely followed by LinkedIn and Instagram.

Most Frequently Used Social Media Channels By Enterprises (% of Respondents)

Social Media Channel

% of Enterprises Using

Facebook

96%

Twitter

71

YouTube

61

LinkedIn

60

Instagram

55

Google+

47

Significant Others

   Pinterest

34

   Snapchat

28

Source: Clutch, July 2016

With Facebook’s nearly two billion monthly active users, Instagram’s 400 million, and Twitter’s 310 million, the social channels enterprises use the most make sense. A business that wants to build its brand, distribute content widely, and increase its customer base, needs to be on the platforms that have the most users, says the report.

Throughout the past four years, social media has dominated the marketing industry’s news cycle, from Instagram’s integration with Facebook, to countless algorithm changes across multiple platforms. Findings, says the report, when looking at social media as an important part of their marketing strategy, are:

  • Social media is most important for digital marketing success, say 80% of enterprises
  • YouTube is one of the most popular social media channels for 61% of enterprises
  • Video outperforms images, offers and promotions, and articles on social media
  • Facebook yields the best results for 62% of enterprises
  • B2B companies are more likely to choose LinkedIn over YouTube but don’t shy away from Instagram.

With 81% of consumers in the habit of conducting research online before making a purchasing decision, building an online presence is imperative. Businesses can do this through SEO, email, content, advertising, and social media. But almost 80% of enterprises say social media is more important for business success than other digital marketing strategies.

Social Media vs. Other Digital Marketing Strategies

Importance

% of Respondents

More important

78%

Neutral

9

Less important

13

Source: Clutch, July 2016

Shawn Alain, President, Viral in Nature, suggests that “… the main difference between social media marketing and traditional marketing… the ability to engage with your followers and customers… respond to them… build a relationship… (which) builds your brand…”

YouTube’s prominence highlights businesses’ appreciation of video as a multi-functional content medium. Video engages, entertains, informs, and educates, says the report. It appeals to our short attention spans and our habit of consuming information on mobile devices. Enterprises point to video, images, and offers and promotions as the content that performs best for their company.

Content Performing Best on Social Media (Percent of Respondents)

Content

% of Respondents

Videos

23%

Images

22

Offers and promotions

18

Articles

16

Reviews

12

Infographics

11

Source: Clutch, July 2016

Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and Instagram recognize the importance of video as well. In 2013, Facebook tested automatically playing videos in the News Feed. Then at the end of 2015, it rolled out Facebook Live, a hub for streaming videos in real-time. Live videos are more likely to show up higher in the News Feed, says the report.

There’s no one-size-fits all strategy for social media. It depends on goals, who to reach, and the type of services offered. This holds true when choosing social media platforms for B2B and B2C companies. However, it’s important not to restrict B2B companies to LinkedIn. Certain features of B2C-associated social platforms can benefit B2B companies as well, opines the report.

Concluding, the report offers some “Actionable Advice” as a takeaway:

  • Pair social media with other digital marketing efforts, like SEO and email marketing, if your end goal is to generate revenue and leads
  • Embrace creativity in the social media strategy development process. For example, business-to-business (B2B) companies do not need to limit themselves to using Facebook and LinkedIn only
  • Select social media channels based on the audience you want to reach, the amount of users on a platform, and the type of content you plan to share.
  • Consider incorporating video into your social media plan in order to appeal to users’ interest in interactive and live content
  • Dedicate additional human and financial resources for social media Consider working with a social media marketing agency or consultant.
  • Take advantage of social media’s benefits by investing in paid social advertising, regularly interacting with customers, and using targeting features to reach appropriate audiences

The survey included 304 respondents who are either ‘extremely involved’ or ‘somewhat involved’ in their company’s social media marketing. 80% were manager level or higher. Respondents worked at companies with more than 100 employees, with 62% representing companies with over 500 employees. 71% worked at B2C companies, while 29% worked at B2B companies.

For additional information from the complete Clutch report, please visit here.

 

 

 

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