social media researchDo you ever wonder what tactics, tools and strategies other social media marketers are using?

Regardless of how long you’ve been involved in social media, chances are you have some questions that you’d like answered.

Questions such as, “What are the best social management tools?” or “What are the best ways to engage my audience with social media?”

These and many more questions were answered in the 2013 Social Media Marketing Industry Report, which surveyed over 3000 marketers with the goal of understanding how they use social media to grow and promote their businesses.

Here are some interesting findings from the survey:

#1: Marketers Want Most to Learn About Blogging

When asked what social media platform they wanted most to master, 62% of marketers said blogging, putting it in first place slightly ahead of Google+. This answer is consistent with other studies, which show that the appetite for blogging education is growing.

An important trend to consider is that 28% of marketers now have mobile-optimized blogs. This is highly significant when you consider that the number of smartphone subscribers in the world has broken the 1 billion mark.

blogging takes first place graph

Blogging takes first place as the social media platform most marketers want to learn about.

Key Consideration:

The power of blogging to reach huge audiences and prospective customers cannot be underestimated. If you want your voice to be heard on the social web, you need to have a blog.

If you’ve just started blogging for business, focus on consistently giving your audience helpful advice that solves their problems. If you’re not 100% sure what kind of content to offer, survey your customers and ask them to tell you. Asking your customers not only gives you valuable insights about what they find useful, but can help to promote your blog as well.

Here are more tips about blogging for business.

#2: Blogging Highly Valued by the Pros

Most marketers (49%) selected Facebook as the single most important social platform for their business, followed by LinkedIn (16%), blogging (14%) and then Twitter (12%). But for the Pros (marketers with three or more years of social media experience), blogging jumped to second place!

Similarly, a recent Technorati report on Digital Influence also indicated that 86% of influential marketers blog consistently, and a majority of them do not produce much content outside of their blogs.

pros value blogging graph

Blogging plays a more important role for experienced marketers, compared to less-experienced marketers.

Key Consideration:

Consumers are looking for “trusted digital friends” to give them advice on what to buy and where to go. Experienced marketers know that offering valuable advice on their blogs generates trust and influences consumers’ buying decisions. If you produce compelling articles and useful advice on your blog, you’ll become a trusted source of information, and people will start to spend more time there, eventually becoming your customers.

#3: Podcasting Finally Growing Up

Marketers were asked to indicate how they plan to change their social media use in the near future. While only 5% are currently using podcasting, a significant 24% plan on getting involved this year. That’s a nearly five-fold increase!

The report shares three reasons why interest in podcasting is growing: Apple’s introduction of a dedicated podcasting mobile app, smartphone subscriptions topping the 1 billion mark, and major car manufacturers such as BMW and Ford starting to integrate podcasting technology into new cars.

podcast interest growing graph

Up from 5% to 24%—the numbers show that interest in podcasting is growing rapidly.

Key Consideration:

Marketing expert Seth Godin says it’s not a good idea to try to sell anything to a stranger. It’s true. But when the right people connect with your voice through podcasting, they gradually become engaged and start to pay attention.

Pat Flynn often says that other than meeting face-to-face, podcasting is probably the best way to interact with your prospects. So if you’ve been thinking about breaking into podcasting, here are the technicalities of setting up, as well as some tips for building a successful podcast with a loyal audience.

#4: Only 1 in 4 Marketers Able to Measure Social Media ROI

When asked to rate their agreement with the following statement, “I am able to measure the return on investment for my social media activities,” only 26% of marketers agreed! What’s interesting about this survey is that social media is clearly a core strategy for businesses, yet measuring it remains a mystery.

measuring roi graph

Measuring social media continues to be a challenge for marketers, as only 26% are able to do so.

Key Consideration:

Research shows that for many businesses, measuring social media ROI is still too basic—focusing on likes, followers and mentions.

During Social Media Marketing World 2013, Nicole Kelly, author of How to Measure Social Media, said business executives and funders of social media campaigns are looking for real business metrics such as sales, revenue and costs. The challenge for marketers is to learn to speak their language by showing how social media fits into the sales funnel and how it impacts the bottom line. Here’s a great piece from Nicole that explains how to measure social media.

#5: Two-Thirds of Marketers Uncertain About Facebook Marketing Effectiveness

Perhaps the most surprising finding in this study was that most marketers don’t really believe in Facebook! Sure they use it, but they don’t really think it is effective. Only 37% agreed with the statement “My Facebook marketing is effective.” Specifically, 44% of B2C marketers agreed with this statement, while only 29% of B2B marketers concurred.

facebook effectiveness graph

Only 37% of marketers agree that their Facebook marketing efforts have been effective.

Key Consideration:

Make no mistake, Facebook IS an effective marketing platform and there are numerous case studies to prove this. It’s possible that some marketers who participated in this survey hadn’t actually tracked their Facebook marketing campaigns and were uncertain about their own efforts.

However, research also indicates that Facebook seems to work better for B2C than B2B. If you have a B2B brand, don’t be discouraged. Here’s some advice from Marketo, a B2B company that has been very successful on Facebook.

Other Significant Findings

magnifying glass

Other findings from the research. Image source: iStockPhoto.

Tactics and engagement are top challenges for marketers.

When asked what top social media challenges they are facing today, marketers said that tactics and engagement strategies were at the top of the list. No matter what kind of company you have or what products you sell, you can improve engagement with your audience on any platform including Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn. Here are some great tips to improve engagement.

Increased exposure and traffic top benefits of social media marketing.

A significant majority (89%) of marketers indicated that their social media efforts have generated more exposure for their businesses, while 75% said that increased website traffic was the second major benefit. Social media is essentially a word-of-mouth tool. It’s where friends discover and share interesting ideas, including the ones on your site! Here are some tips to drive traffic to your site using social media.

More time spent on social media equals greater benefits.

If you’ve ever wondered whether more time invested in social media produces better results, the answer is “yes.” According to the survey, with as little as six hours per week, 92% of marketers indicated their social media efforts increased exposure for their businesses. More than half of marketers who spent 11 hours or more per week saw improved sales. Do you think you could put a little more time into social media marketing every week?

Fascinating differences between B2B and B2C.

As expected, Facebook dominated among B2C brands, though it was interesting to see LinkedIn and Facebook tie for first place among B2B brands. Only 5% of B2C marketers said LinkedIn played an important role for them. Twitter and blogging are also valuable platforms for B2B marketers. Another surprise was that B2B marketers showed zero interest in Pinterest.

which platform graph

Which platforms play the most important role for B2B and B2C marketers?

Your Turn

What do you think? How does your own experience compare to these findings? Please share your comments in the box below.

Image from iStockPhoto.
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  • Pingback: Research Shows Blogging a Top Focus for Marketers - WebPronto()

  • Great post Patricia, blogging for sure is a great way to connect with your audiance and looks like it never gets old.


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  • Nitter Natter

    It’s great to hear that some people are seeing blogs for the power source that they are. But at the same time, that people are wanting (and willing) to learn all about them.

    It’s also important that that issues with ROI have been addressed. ROI is so personal to each and every business and cannot often be transferrable. As ROI can only be seen in terms of what is considered valuable to a brand.

    Grace, Nitter Natter

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  • predsicker

    Thanks for your feed back Grace 🙂

  • At the heart of every transaction is trust. I 100% agree that consumers are looking for “trusted digital friends” to give them advice on their desires, and problems. I often blog about how developing trust and rapport is 40% of the process to selling anything.

    You’re on point again when talking about “consumers spending more time with you.” I call these social icons “extended stay buttons” and are incredibly important buttons that continue the communication that those interested prospects and customers desire. Great post Patricia!

  • I hail from a time pre social media, when blogging was pretty much all there was, it’s great to see it make a comeback. Funny the effect a few Google algorithm changes can have on how we use media.

  • Patricia, fascinating findings – thank you for this post! I’ve recently been spending more time each week on Social Media, and it’s made a noticeable difference in engagement. Another thing I’ve found to be really powerful for my social presence is really focusing on the platforms that work best for my business – finding out where my audience is and how often they are truly engaging and interacting with me. If I spend less time (or no time at all) on the platforms that don’t really perform that well, then I can spend more time on the platforms that do, and that’s made a huge difference. Thanks again!

  • I do think that blogging should definitely be the primary focus for marketers. Patricia, I really love the information that you included in this study. I love the quote by Seth Godin, “it’s not a good idea to try to sell anything to a stranger.” Blogging is definitely a way to build one’s audience. Right now I am taking a break from blogging to curate content.

  • Greg Barker

    Great backup data to support the cause! It can be difficult to get others to understand the importance of this component in their Total Content Package. I also agree that the Podcast is going to continue its renewal as Content Consumers look for ways to grow their knowledge during the times when they cannot be looking at a screen.

  • I did a survey on Survey Monkey recently and when asked where they would most like help when it comes to writing, the majority replied ‘help with how to write blog posts’.

  • predsicker

    Well said Paul – thanks for the read!

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  • predsicker

    Thank YOU for reading John! For me too, the amount of time spent on relevant platforms really does translate into high returns. I think a lot of times people want to be ‘everywhere’ without really considering the potential for all those platforms to produce desired outcomes. So yes, not all platforms are created equal, but again, each marketer has to figure out which ones are ‘more equal’ for them 🙂

  • predsicker

    Thanks for reading Praverb. Curating is great, and I’m glad you’re taking the time to do that, but nothing sells your brand as much as original content does. I would consider doing both at the same time ~ my two cents 🙂

  • predsicker

    Absolutely right Greg – thanks so much for your feedback!

  • predsicker

    Isn’t it funny Carole, as content creators we tend to think that everyone knows how to do this ‘blogging thing’. But time and again people outside of mainstream content marketing continue to say that blogging is a big challenge for them. Clearly a big opportunity for training services, I think 🙂

  • predsicker

    Thanks for reading Leo!

  • predsicker

    Thanks for reading, and for your feedback Patrick ~ Great to see you here 🙂

  • Thank you Patricia! I am just burnt out a bit. So I think I will take a break. Going to check out your site soon. Thank you for what you do!

  • Grace Walker

    this is such an encouraging piece. I may be the typical new starter at blogging. I just wanted to vent first. then as i started to become more social media acclimated, i started to speak to the what ifs and what nots of social media. As I continue this journey, I want to share examined thoughts and to find my niche. I don’t understand the adwords, seo, content marketing thoroughly. i do feel that i can contribute ideas and thoughts and that they can be of value. In this piece, the infographics, one of my new words learnt, are very pertinent. All said, I am learning and maneuvering through this landscape, with the goal to become proficient and sufficient. Do I continue blogging about thoughts, ideas as they pop up, or should I develop a targeted approach? would love to hear from you

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  • Karthik

    Very well written article. Very informative and full of facts and figures. Thanks for the share Patricia..

  • Interesting observation that people with more social media marketing experience place a higher importance on blogging. This certainly fits with my experience where I’m getting so many serious enquiries from businesses who want to publish good quality content, with a unique viewpoint, rather than just push any old stuff out in the hope of generating a bit of traffic. Rightly identifies the ability to produce the right kind of blog content as the biggest challenge for businesses.

  • Great post. I’m always surprised Podcasting hasn’t gone bigger. I also feel the landscape is changing so fast it’s often overwhelming trying to keep up. I also fear slightly the ability Google has to completely hammer blow changes simply by the way, it itself, chooses to evolve. Scary, no?

  • stanleyleary

    Excellent! Loved the Infographics. These really helped me visualize the data.

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  • Nicole Crosby

    Great article. Thank you, I know for me blogging is a major priority in our social media strategy and efforts.

  • Thanks Patricia. Those graphics really bring it home to me. So glad I have decided to persist with blogging 😉

  • Lars Steves

    It’s true, Social Media’s growth really impacts on Businesses, and its beneficial for any business, if they use it accordingly.

  • Judith Thomas

    I spend a lot of time covering these points with my clients. Thanks for this great article.

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  • Patricia Redsicker your website says its full of malware. you may want to get that checked out.

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  • Felix Brown

    Nice thread.
    Blogging trend is that reading blog posts has become very popular on the
    internet. Many consumers have grown tired of the media spin on the news
    and no longer trust them to provide accurate information

  • Junel Juju

    Thank you Patricia for this research! This would be a lot of help on my thesis paper. god bless to you 🙂

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