The 5 Ws of Social Media Marketing: Industry Survey & Insights [Study]

The longer a marketer has been using social media, the more time they spend each week at it. This is just one of the many social media marketing (SMM) insights gleaned from a recent survey of 3,800 marketers, performed by Social Media Examiner.

The 2012 Social Media Marketing Industry Report is their fourth such annual study and promises to “uncover the ‘who, what, where, when and why’ of social media marketing.” The 42-page report contains almost 70 charts illustrating their findings.

SME aimed to better understand how marketers use social to grow and promote their businesses. Here are some of their findings.

Who Uses Social Media Marketing?


The survey found that 94 percent of marketers use social media for marketing, with 83 percent of them reporting that social media is important to their business. Sole proprietors were most likely to strongly agree that SMM is important to them.

B2B marketers have been using social media longer than their B2C counterparts. Only 4 percent of all marketers surveyed said they have no experience with social media, though a substantial 17 percent have only been at it six months or less.

Of the survey respondents, 51 percent were B2B marketers and 49 percent were B2C. Thirty-four percent were from small businesses (2 to 10 employees), 21 percent were self-employed, and 20 percent worked for large companies with 100 or more employees. Sixty-two percent were women, and the median respondent age was 30-39. Participants were largely from the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia.

What Are They Doing?


In addition to social media marketing, respondents are using email marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), and event marketing more than other types of marketing. B2B marketers were more likely to use SEO than their B2C counterparts, though even 62 percent of B2C marketers are practicing SEO.

Sixty-eight percent of marketers plan to increase their use of SEO in the coming year; just 1 percent indicated they will decrease its use. Sixty-one percent plan to increase their email marketing efforts, 56 percent plan to increase their event marketing efforts, and just 43 percent plan to increase other online advertising efforts, such as PPC.

Another important insight: outside of social, what are marketers choosing not to do?

  • 75 percent have no plans for TV ads
  • 67 percent will not do radio ads
  • 48 percent will not use webinars for marketing
  • 42 percent have no plans to use print ads
  • 34 percent will not practice direct mail marketing
  • 29 percent have no plans to advertise online outside of social, including PPC
  • 13 percent have no event marketing plans
  • 9 percent have no plans to use SEO
  • 4 percent will not use email marketing

Where Are Marketers Practicing SMM?


YouTube and/or video is the top area marketers will focus on, for the second year running. Seventy-six percent indicated they plan to increase their YouTube and/or video marketing this year.

Facebook also continues to dominate: 92 percent of marketers are using Facebook and 72 percent plan on increasing their activities there. Facebook also seems the channel with the lowest barrier to entry, as it is the top focus for people just getting started with social media marketing.

Sixty-nine percent of marketers will increase their activity on Twitter, while 29 percent plan to keep this the same. Marketers who spend more time per week on SMM overall are most likely to increase their Twitter use; 80 percent of those spending 21 or more hours per week on social media marketing will increase their efforts on Twitter.

Where else do social media marketers plan to promote their businesses this year?

  • 68 percent plan to blog more
  • 67 percent plan to use Google+ more
  • 66 percent will increase their use of LinkedIn
  • 38 percent will make more use of photo sharing sites like Instagram and Pinterest
  • 34 percent will increase their forum use, though a significant 40 percent won’t use forum marketing at all
  • 31 percent will use social bookmarking more; 45 percent won’t use it at all
  • Just 23 percent will increase their use of geo-location services like Foursquare, but 57 percent won’t use these services at all
  • 72 percent have no plans to use daily deals sites like Groupon or LivingSocial.

When – or Better Yet, How Often?


Younger marketers spend more time on social media; those 20 to 29 years old spend the most time at it, with 43 percent of that age group spending 11 or more hours per week on SMM. Overall, 59 percent of marketers use social for six hours a week or more, with 33 percent spending 11 or more hours per week at it.

Interestingly, 24.5 percent of the more experienced crowd (those with three or more years using social) spend a whopping 20 hours per week or more on social media. Most marketers, regardless of business size, spend one to 10 hours per week on social.

Why Use Social Media Marketing?


The biggest benefits to social media marketing, according to respondents, are increased exposure and traffic. Eighty-five percent of marketers said SMM has increased exposure for their business, while 69 percent have seen increased traffic.

Other benefits marketers reported from using social:

  • Provided marketplace insight (65 percent)
  • Generated leads and developed loyal fans (58 percent each)
  • Improved search rankings (55 percent)
  • Grew business partnerships (51 percent)
  • Reduced marketing expenses (46 percent)
  • Improved sales (40 percent)

This is just a taste of the contents of the full 2012 Social Media Marketing Industry Report: How Marketers Are Using Social Media to Grow Their Businesses by Michael A. Stelzner from Social Media Examiner.

Stelzner also provided a video overview to give marketers an idea of the scope of the full report:

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