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How Businesses Use Social Media

Businesses are increasingly including social media into their marketing strategies. This is one of the many statistics reported in Social Media Examiner's Social Media Marketing Industry Report for 2014. Watch today's Daily Brown Bag as we cover the Social Media Marketing Industry Report from Social Media Examiner and answer the question of how businesses are using social media.

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Hello, and welcome to the Daily Brown Bag. Today we're going to be talking about some updated facts on how businesses are using social media. I'm Chad Hill, and I'm joined by Adam Stetzer.

Good afternoon, Chad. Welcome to the Brown Bag. We were talking about a report out, Chad, from Social Media Examiner. This is their sixth annual 2014 Social Media Marketing Industry Report. They do this every year.

We're reporting on the 2014 results from the survey, which does talk to over 2800 marketers, which is a pretty large sample. Pretty much the theme here is social media is no longer the new kid on the block. It's been recognized as a pretty important part of the overall marketing strategy that every business and even small businesses really should have in place.

Some of these data are forming that this momentum in social media is not slowing down. Let's get into some of that today.

Chad, one of these interesting questions here was how important is social media and 92% of marketers said that social media is important to their business as opposed to, in last year's survey, 2013 survey, 86% said it was important. That's a pretty large increase.

Eighty-three percent of marketers said they have integrated their social media activities with traditional marketing activities. In 2013, we only saw 79% saying they had done that. Again, that one also edging up.

It seems like the trend is continuing that social media is invading the marketing strategy in very good ways. Marketers are indicating it's still quite important and becoming even more so in fact.

Yeah, absolutely. I think there were a couple of questions that are interesting, that even as the growth in social media and the penetration of marketing departments has grown, that there still are a lot of questions people are looking to get answers to.

Here are some of the top questions that people still wanted answers to. One was what social media tactics are the best. That's 91% of people wanted that question answered. The next one after that was how to best engage your audience, 89%. That is a really difficult one.

The next one was a very important one, how to measure ROI only 37% of marketers said they can effectively measure ROI in social media. But that was up from last year where only 26% said. So, there's still a big gap there and still clearly a lot of demand in order to fill the gap on how to get the right analytics.

I think that that means that clearly some businesses are figuring out how to do social media and why and when it works, but there were a lot of other benefits that people said that they saw from social media.

Here's a nice list of sort of the top places people saw benefits from social media: 92% said that they had seen increased brand exposure when using social media, 80% said they saw increased traffic, 72% said that they had developed loyal fans for their brand through social media, and 71% said that it helped with marketing insight.

I'm not going to go through the whole list here, but 66% said that it actually helped them generate leads. So, Adam, I think that really social media--the penetration is there. People know they need to be doing it.

Clearly there's still a lot of desire for better analytics. A very small percentage of people feel like they've got a real handle on it, but there are a lot of benefits here, so we would expect this to continue to grow. Right?

Very interesting, yeah. I think that stat about struggling to nail down the return on investment is particularly interesting, because I know we speculated on this over the years, Chad, through our Brown Bags, and in our forum, and in our webinars.

Will social media be essentially a fad or will you be able to nail down the ROI? Typically things that have a hard time establishing direct return on investment usually end up more in the fad column, yet that hasn't happened here. Social media is still trucking.

I know we've had this debate kind of along parallel lines about does social media directly impact the rankings. Coming from the SEO side, of course the holy grail there was to show that social media would drive your rankings. That's been a little debunked as well. We haven't seen as strong data on that as we would've thought.

Again, you would think that marketers might be backing off social media with a hard time nailing down ROI directly or showing a direct impact on rankings, but this data suggests that's just not the case. I think, Chad, you're right on all these points, and that a lot of small businesses just see that it works, particularly hyperlocal businesses, a lot of nonprofits. Even big brands are using this to their advantage. So I think they're going to continue to shake out some of these problems is my guess as this continues to be a valuable channel.

Well, that's our coverage today of Social Media Examiner's sixth annual Social Media Marketing Industry Report. The numbers from 2014 are very interesting.

As always, we'd like to hear your comments, and we hope you'll drop one and interact with us a little bit. We also would really love it if you would subscribe to our YouTube channel so we could see you back here tomorrow for another Brown Bag.