Social media is one of the newest, fastest changing and perhaps least understood marketing channels for businesses.
As we noted in our Buyer’s Guide to Enterprise Social Media Management Software, companies are finding new and interesting ways to leverage social media, from customer service to product development to recruiting to market research. One major retail company, for example, uses social media listening tools to understand shoplifting frequency at particular locations and take action as needed – people share anything on social media.
Simply Measured, a social media analytics vendor, recently asked the research team at TrustRadius to survey and analyze the state of social media marketing in 2015. Nearly 600 social media practitioners – from consultants to executives to social media managers – took our survey, responding to questions about the goals, challenges and measurement tactics for their social media programs.
The main takeaway is that companies of all sizes and social media maturity level are struggling to communicate the value of their social media programs. This is not a new finding; studies in previous years have come to a similar conclusion; perhaps the surprising piece is that this is STILL the case, despite increasingly sophisticated measurement tactics and data technologies.
Measuring ROI is by far the #1 challenge among respondents, who are largely using vanity metrics such as likes and followers to measure success. These metrics can be difficult to tie back to business objectives, and can lead to statements like this one: “Right now, we are mostly on social media because it seems like a bad idea not to be on social media. There aren’t really any definable goals,” and this one, “Still trying to figure out how to monetize social,” and finally, this one: “Approach = minimum viable social presence.”
Given these struggles to demonstrate the value of social media activities, social media is also still a relatively isolated channel. Most respondents say they trust the accuracy of their social media data and reporting, and largely agree that it impacts their social media marketing strategies. But far fewer agree that social media data and analytics impact their overall business strategies. A lot of the interesting ways companies can leverage social media data, in terms of product development, market research, etc., are not yet widely adopted.
I covered these key takeaways in a webinar June 9th, along with Simply Measured’s Sr. Content Marketing Manager Kevin Shively. You can download the full report on Simply Measured’s website, and view a recording of the webinar here.