Software Advice has partnered with Adobe to put together a Social Media Content Optimization Survey. The results are extremely interesting because they represent, not just what companies and social media marketers are doing and having success with, but also a shift in how social media is perceived by businesses.
What social media managers and consultants like myself have been saying for years is that social media is not an advertising medium. Businesses that treat Facebook and Twitter and other social networks simply as a means to broadcast their sales message are, simply put, doing it wrong. And we’re starting to see more and more marketing departments embrace more effective tactics and more achievable goals for social media.
Social Media Content Optimization Survey Participants
Before we dive into the results and conclusions, just who was it that participated in this survey?
As you can see from the graphs, most businesses surveyed were small businesses, with under 100 employees and under $250k a year in revenue.
Social Media Content Optimization Survey Results
So what were the results of the survey?
Most Important Tactics for Optimizing Content on Social Media
When it comes to tactics, businesses are optimizing their social media to include the following techniques, in this order:
1. Use images or photos
2. Include hashtags and usernames
3. Target specific groups or users
4. Use CTAs (share, retweet, follow)
5. Optimize image size for each network
6. Use videos
7. Limit the number of characters
Clearly, the most important tactic for social media marketing and content optimization this year is the use of images or photos. As Twitter makes imagery more and more integrated, and networks like Google+ bring more prominence to shared and linked images, it’s becoming even more important that marketers take advantage of the visual nature of social media and use images to communicate brand ideas and values.
The use of hashtags and usernames was the next most important tactic, and one that I think will continue to be a driver for savvy marketers. When you mention other people, specifically, in your social media posts, you’re reaching out to connections that you’ve made and strengthening those connections. More on that in just a moment.
Goals Marketers Most Successfully Achieve Through Social Content
When it comes to goals, the results are even more interesting.
The number one goal that marketers most successfully achieve through social media is to Nurture Relationships!
This is a topic that is discussed at length, particularly on Google+, where relationships between businesses and prospects and between businesses and influencers is not only important, it’s an integral part of the platform and culture.
Rather than trying to sell, sell, sell, businesses can and should use social networks as opportunities to connect with other people, on an individual basis, and create relationships with those individuals. Businesses can leverage these relationships to generate both leads and referrals, on a case by case basis.
And this is where those use of mentions and usernames in posts can come into play. While we don’t want to mention people just for the sake of mentioning influencers, if you’re using social media in the best possible way, opportunities to mention other people will come quite naturally. Whether you’re sharing other people’s content or sharing great content that you’ve created in which you’ve quoted some experts, utilizing those relationships and drawing connections between you and your content and other people and their content can and should be a part of your normal routine.
Additional goals that marketers were able to achieve included:
2. Build brand recognition
3. Gain followers
4. Increase customer engagement
5. Drive customer loyalty
6. Build thought leadership
7. Drive website traffic
8. Drive social signals for SEO
9. Generate leads
10. Drive direct-response sales
It’s important to note then that generating leads and driving sales, directly from social media, were the poorest performing goals among marketers surveyed. Businesses would do well to learn from this regarding the futility of “asking for sales” on social media!
Instead, use social media to create opportunities for discussion and engagement and relationship building. Those who are interested will follow conversations onto your website and then your website can be a far better tool for generating leads and converting leads into sales. Your website and blog content can answer questions and lead prospects through a sales funnel far more effectively than any social media post. Your website can drive potential customers into your email list which you can then use in a variety of ways to close the deal.
If you’ve taken the time to establish trust and authority on social media, you will have warmed the prospect to the point that, when they get to your website and sales pages, they’re far more likely to convert.
So out of all of these tactics and goals, which have been the most important and the most successful for you? Which ones have you struggled with? Please leave your comments and questions below, and if you’re looking for help for your business in these areas, please contact me.