Top Social Media Business Benefits: Exposure, Traffic and Market Insights

Social Media Examiner has released its fourth annual Social Media Marketing Industry Report, with data based on responses from 3800 marketers.  The survey was promoted via Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, so the population is likely to skew toward early adopters of social media marketing, and 79% of participants are from companies with less than 100 employees.  Keeping that in mind, it’s interesting to look at some of the trends — and to compare them to results from the same survey conducted last year:

  • 83% of respondents agreed that social media is “important for their business” — compared to 90% last year.
  • The top business benefit of social media marketing is generating more business exposure (85% — similar to the 88% who cited this in 2011), followed by increasing traffic (69% — 72% last year) and providing market insights (65%).  Last years number 3, improved search rankings, has dropped from 62% to 55%.   40% say that social media has helped them to improve sales.
  • Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, blogs and YouTube were the top five social media tools used by marketers.  40% of respondents are using Google+, which is also the top tool that respondents want to learn more about.
  • This year, a big focus will be on measurement and targeting:  40% of respondents want to know how to measure the return on investment (ROI) of social media, and how to find customers and prospects.
  • Social media takes time:  The majority of marketers (59%) of marketers are using social media for 6 hours or more each week, unchanged from last year’s 59%.  One-third invest 11 or more hours weekly.  Compared to last year, more experienced social media users are spending less time with social media: only half of marketers with more than 3 years experience are spending 10 or more hours each week on social media, down from 63% in 2011.  But they’re still investing more time than those who are just starting out.
  • 30% of marketers outsource some portion of their social media efforts–about the same as last year’s 28%.
  • Marketers plan on increasing their use of YouTube/video (76%), Facebook (72%), Twitter (69%), blogs (68%), Google+ (67%) and LinkedIn (66%).

The findings varied by company size and by the amount of social media experience of the respondents.  Click here to check out the complete report:

What are the top business benefits you’re getting from social media?