To say that there is an information overload in social media best practices, infographics, statistics, and “how-to” information would be an understatement. With the amount of information being published daily, it can be a challenge to keep up with the latest reports, trends and winning formulas for social media success. If you are anything like me, you bookmark and store articles and things to review at a later date, and then the resources stack up with little time for review.
One of my favorite quotes about social media comes from Erik Qualman, who authored “Socialnomics“: “We don’t have a choice on whether we do social media, the question is how well we do it.” I often ponder that statement to gauge how well I’m keeping up with the latest information and applying that to my social media marketing efforts inside a B2B organization. Realizing that our business-to-business marketing efforts vary from typical consumer brand social media, I couldn’t agree more that the channels I’m pushing through need to be utilized properly.
Having just read the 2011 Social Media Marketing Industry Report published April 2011 by Michael A. Stelzner, I came across some interesting information. I highly recommend reading this 41-page report which is full of great insights. Here are a few things that stood out, and thoughts that came to mind after reading it:
The term “Social Media Guru” or “Expert” is highly over-used and over-rated.
The report surveyed roughly 3,300 marketers, and of those, only 11% stated their level of experience in social media marketing is 3 or more years. Admittedly, I was not one of the masses surveyed, but I fall into that 3+ years social marketing experience category. I’ve been classified by many in my network as an “expert” and have been compared to some pretty big names in social media right now. I would, however, classify myself as an active social marketer, who is constantly working to stay educated on proper use of social channels, content marketing strategy, and enhancing our B2B Social Marketing offering at SIGMA Marketing Group.
Social marketing takes time – if you are going to do it right.
I have always believed this to be true. Every day, new tools and technologies emerge that claim automation, optimization, and so on. Believe me, I am all for creating efficiencies – but as a social marketer, it is imperative that I am engaged in the ongoing dialogue that is social media. The report stated that 15% of marketers spend more than 20 hours per week on social media. I say only 15%? How can you be actively engaged in the growing conversation if you are not tuned in to your networks? And how can you build relationships by spending 1-5 hours per week inside your social media communities? Interesting that the report also showed that those with the most experience (3 or more years) are spending more time working their social networks – which leads me to believe I am not alone in my line of thinking. Those of us who have been doing it longer realize the time investment it takes to build quality relationships.
Social media and SEO go hand-in-hand.
Having a background in internet marketing, I consider this a no-brainer. One element of successful search engine optimization is continually adding relevant content to support your online presence. Social media channels provide additional vehicles to do just that. I blogged on this very topic in January (SEO: An Important Element of B2B Social Media). If you don’t currently consider SEO to be a key element of your social content strategy, I would encourage you to revisit your social media strategy to incorporate this critical social marketing component.
Social Bookmarking has landed on the radar for seasoned social marketers.
The survey noted that the top tools that experienced social marketers wanted to learn more about was social bookmarking sites. This one caught me off guard. I consider social bookmarking a fundamental element of content sharing. Bookmarking sites like Digg, Delicious and StumbleUpon provide users with streamed content targeted to their interests or business needs. Why would you not already leverage these tools? I would further add, they are the least intensive to learn to leverage properly, and they become a solid connector between your content strategy and your linking strategy.
This report is jam-packed with good insights on the future of social media marketing, and what companies may look to do in the coming year(s). For example, video will be a main focus for many social marketers (including me). I had a few “A-ha” moments along the way, but found this research to be a great gauge of my company’s social media activities, as well as how we leverage social for our clients, in this continually evolving field. Download your copy today – I’d love to hear your feedback on this research, and what, if anything, surprised you.
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