The state of social media 2011

This week I took part in a webinar hosted by Hubspot and presented by Michael Steizner from Social Media Examiner that revealed and explored some of the key findings from a new report: the 2011 Social Media Marketing Industry Report.

The 2011 Social Media Marketing Industry Report was compiled following a survey of 3,300 social media marketers who were all asked what question about social media marketing they wanted answered. 2,200 people provided responses, all of which were qualitatively analysed and grouped into the top 10 questions.

The report also looks at the time invested in social media marketing, how social media marketing is being used by different types of companies and – crucially – the main benefits offered by social media marketing.

Although the report is very US-centric (only 6% of respondents were from the UK), I’ve always found that the Americans are often ahead of the game when it comes to digital marketing trends such as these. I therefore wanted to write this post to highlight some of the findings that really stood out for me and will hopefully provide you with an insight into what social media marketers are thinking and where their priorities lie in 2011.

Key findings

• 73% of businesses are planning to increase their use of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and blogging in 2011

• The top three questions social media marketers want answered:
#1 – How do I measure the effect of social media marketing on my business?
#2 – How do I integrate and manage all of my social media marketing activities?
#3 – What are the best ways to sell with social media?

Half of marketers have less than one year of social media marketing experience, with B2B companies using social media longer than their B2C counterparts

58% of marketers are using social media marketing more than six hours a week, whilst 34% for 11 hours or more. And the longer people have been using social media, the more time they are investing in it on a weekly basis

• The top three benefits of social media marketing:
#1 – Generate exposure for the business
#2 – Increase traffic/ subscribers
#3 – Improved search rankings

It takes time, patience and commitment to see the financial benefits of social media. Those who take the time to learn about social media and use it consistently will see the greatest benefits

Facebook (92%), Twitter (84%) and LinkedIn (71%) are the most used social media tools, with blogs fourth in the list with 68%

• The top areas of focus for 2011:
#1 – YouTube/ video
#2 – Facebook
#3 – Blogs

People want to learn about Facebook (70%), blogs (69%), social bookmarking (59%), Twitter (59%), LinkedIn (55%) and YouTube/ video (55%) the most in 2011

46% of people want to learn about geo-location marketing (FourSquare, Facebook Places etc), although the report found that geo-location is most likely to be used by larger companies (501-1,000 employees)

My thoughts

There wasn’t a great deal in the report that surprised me in terms of the findings. It’s clear that marketers want to begin seeing financial rewards and return-on-investment from their social media activities. The ‘buzz’ is beginning to die down and I’m sure financial directors and business owners are now demanding to see tangible results from their social media efforts.

Facebook is the tool most people want to learn more about and use in 2011 with Twitter not far off in second place. Although I was surprised to learn that blogs are only fourth in the list of the ‘most used’ social media tools, it’s nevertheless encouraging to see them the third top area of focus and the second most important priority marketers want to learn about in the year ahead.
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What did you think of the report? What stood out most for you? Is there anything else you’d have liked the report to have looked at?


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