Corporate Eye

Brands Realize There Is More to Social Media Marketing Than Twitter and Facebook

More eyeballs doesn’t always equate to better return on marketing investments, and that applies to social media marketing just as it does to more traditional forms of marketing. Sure 800 million people are on Facebook, so it’s not surprising that 94% of marketers surveyed during a December 2011 study conducted by Awareness Inc. indicated they would use Facebook to market their brands in 2012.

However, marketers are finally starting to realize that bigger isn’t necessarily better. In 2012, marketers are finally branching out and trying to catch up to consumers by following them to more diverse social sites.

First, let’s take a look at the leading areas that U.S. marketers plan to invest social media marketing budget dollars in during 2012 as reported by eMarketer:

  1. Increased presence across social media platforms = 70%
  2. Increased frequency of content publishing = 59%
  3. More robust social media marketing management = 50%
  4. More robust social media monitoring = 45%
  5. More social media presence = 33%
  6. Other = 6%

At the risk of sounding like a broken record by repeating things I say and write all the time, the power of social media marketing as a brand building tool (which leads to word-of-mouth marketing, loyalty, and increased sales) comes from surrounding consumers with useful and meaningful content so they can self-select how they want to interact with your brand. Not everyone likes to read long blog posts or keep up with Facebook. Increasing a brand’s presence across social media platforms should be a strategic imperative, so I’m glad to see 70% of respondents to this survey at the very least plan to throw some more money toward it in 2012. Let’s hope they also plan to prioritize it near the top of their 2012 goals.

So where do marketers plan to spread their presences to on the social web in 2012? According to the survey, the biggest growth will be for blogs, forums, YouTube, SlideShare, Foursquare and Tumblr. Here’s the breakdown of social media platforms that survey respondents used in 2011 compared to what they plan to use in 2012:

  • Facebook: 88% in 2011 vs. 94% in 2012
  • Twitter: 83% in 2011 vs. 91% in 2012
  • LinkedIn: 76% in 2011 vs. 86% in 2012
  • Blogs: 57% in 2011 vs. 85% in 2012
  • YouTube: 66% in 2011 vs. 84% in 2012
  • Forums: 29% in 2011 vs. 48% in 2012
  • Flickr: 30% in 2011 vs. 41% in 2012
  • SlideShare: 22% in 2011 vs. 38% in 2012
  • Foursquare: 23% in 2011 vs. 33% in 2012
  • Tumblr: 15% in 2011 vs. 25% in 2012

Blogs are definitely the big winner for 2012. Even marketers that are well-established in social media plan to increase investments in blogs in 2012. According to the study, 91% of those experienced social media marketers expected to increase their use of blogs.

I have a fairly simple reaction to the results of this study — it’s about time. However, only time will tell if those increased investments are enough and targeted to the right strategic decisions rather than focused on tactical catch-up efforts.

What do you think? Will marketers catch up to consumers in social media in 2012? Leave a comment and share your thoughts.

Image: Simon Q.

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Susan Gunelius is the author of 10 marketing, social media, branding, copywriting, and technology books, and she is President & CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company. She also owns Women on Business, an award-wining blog for business women. She is a featured columnist for and, and her marketing-related articles have appeared on websites such as,,, and more. She has over 20 years of experience in the marketing field having spent the first decade of her career directing marketing programs for some of the largest companies in the world, including divisions of AT&T and HSBC. Today, her clients include large and small companies around the world and household brands like Citigroup, Cox Communications, Intuit, and more. Susan is frequently interviewed about marketing and branding by television, radio, print, and online media organizations, and she speaks about these topics at events around the world. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google+.

Hi Susan – Some very interesting numbers here, and proof I think that ‘inbound marketing’ is finding its feet. Slowly, some of us would say far too slowly, the real business case for and the financial value of social marketing is emerging. comScore’s Linda Abraham and Buddy Media’s Mike Lazerow reference research showing that a “share” on Facebook can lead to $2.10 in incremental sales, for example, and drive up the average conversion rate to 10.2 percent per share. That’s the good news.

The bad news is that in the hunt for volume and more awareness, marketers are increasingly looking to buy loyalty through incentives. It’s an effective catch up tactic at one level, and a very misleading one at another, because as Alexis Dormandy points out, if Likes are being bought, what are those Likes really worth?

My concern is that marketers may well use tactics such as these to catch up to consumers. The real question is, how long will consumers stay with marketers that employ such tactics? What are marketers really buying? I discuss this in more detail here:

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