A research study conducted by Unisphere Research, a division of Information Today, and sponsored by Skyword titled “Content Marketing Gets Social: 2013 Survey on Content Marketing Trends” found that a strong majority of content marketers are using social media outlets to share their information.
The report states that nearly three-quarters (71 percent) of content marketers publish their content to their websites and then promote it on their social networks. Surprisingly, close to one-quarter (21 percent) did not utilize the powerful tool of social media; while a mere eight percent were unsure.
What social media outlets are being utilized? Well, it’s the usual networks that dominate the headlines: Facebook (84 percent), Twitter (79 percent) and LinkedIn (64 percent). In addition, the largest amount of reader activity came from those social media venues: Facebook pegged 55 percent, Twitter posted 45 percent and LinkedIn had 39 percent.
A large majority of content marketers say their primary objectives are to engage both clients and prospects, enhance brand awareness and acquire leads – improving search rankings and increasing web traffic were the least likely goals.
However, these are not their biggest hurdles. Exactly two-thirds say the biggest challenge is creating content that is relevant and targeted to various Internet audiences. Incidentally, content marketers are producing their own content as 87 percent said they write their own.
Is the practice working? It’s still unknown as only 46 percent of respondents said yes and 37 percent noted that the content is currently under development or being planned. Meanwhile, 15 percent gave a definitive no and two percent didn’t know.
“There is a high expectation regarding social media but a very low understanding around measures to determine ROI versus activity,” said one survey participant, while a separate participant noted: “We don’t do as good a job at tracking the value of our efforts as we should be.”
The online study was conducted in August with 217 respondents from the reader base of Information Today’s CRM and EContent magazines.
Indeed, the business of social media marketing is astronomical. The Business Insider published an in-depth report recently that analyzed just how immense the industry is. For instance, to an outsider, it might appear that brands are wasting their money on advertising on social media websites considering how crowded it is. However, since Americans spend an estimated 12 to 20 hours per month on social media – most likely higher – companies can gauge a higher audience for their content.
Looking ahead, social media advertising, though in its infancy period, is forecasted to be an $11 billion industry as brands either allocate or increase their marketing budgets to include this form of advertising. Also, this could be a lot higher because of mobile device usage; half of Facebook and Twitter’s traffic already comes from smartphones and tablets.
It has been suggested by industry insiders that the primary trends to observe for the remainder of this year and into next year are increased budgets, gamification, community content, brand new corporate roles (I.E. social business manager, content strategist) and staff blogging.