10 Social Media 2011 Highlights (Data Included)

  |  December 27, 2011   |  Comments

A look at how marketers are integrating social media into their marketing plans.

2011-social-media-marketing-top-102011 was a pivotal year for social media marketing (For those of you who are interested, here's 2010's social media marketing highlights. Driven in part by consumers who spend roughly one quarter of their time online with social media and blogging sites according to Nielsen, marketers tested and expanded their use of social media and integrated it into their overall marketing plans to achieve their business objectives.

Given the increased use of social media marketing, it's notable that no marketing campaign had the reach or attention last year's Old Spice videos or Pepsi's Refresh did (Note: This campaign is still going!).

Here are 2011's top 10 social media marketing highlights.

1. Facebook remains the global 900-pound gorilla of social media networks. Facebook reached 55 percent of the world's global audience accounting for roughly 75 percent of time spent on social networking sites and one in every seven minutes spent online globally according to comScore's October 2011 data. It's important to note Facebook is blocked in China.

facebook-comscore2011

Source: "It's a Social World," comScore, Dec. 21, 2011

For many marketers, these sheer numbers make Facebook usage a must-have in their marketing mix. Before you jump in, make sure you understand what Facebook can and can't do for your offering.

2. YouTube is still number two. YouTube doesn't need to try harder. It's the second largest social media site and the second largest search engine. Since online video consumption and engagement continues to increase, YouTube should be on every marketer's to do list for 2012. To help marketers, YouTube introduced new analytics late in 2011.

3. LinkedIn starts to get respect. Aided by its high-flying IPO, LinkedIn made inroads on gaining attention of marketers, particularly those in the B2B space. Not sure how to use LinkedIn's treasure trove of content marketing, think beyond job search paradise. In particular, spend time in groups and answering questions.

4. Twitter is where we turn for news as it happens. What's interesting is the news shared on Twitter where content was personal, sports, and entertainment compared with the information shared across social media platforms was breaking news sprinkled with a bit of gossip. Throughout 2011, Twitter continued to grow while its advertising platform progressed.

twitter-comscoreSource: "It's a Social World," comScore

addthis-yearofsharing

Source: "Sharing Trends in 2011," AddThis

5. Google half-heartedly enters the social media fray. Google introduced its latest social media platform, Google+ and it broke records in terms of gaining 25 million visitors.

raceto25m-comscoreSource: "It's a Social World," comScore

It lacked real buy-in from Google's senior management team. It took them months to get involved and then without embracing social media's principles. Further, despite being late to the game, they didn't learn from Facebook's mistakes. As a result, Google+'s initial momentum has lost most of its steam. That said, omit Google+ from your 2012 marketing plans at your own peril since Google will eventually get the product on track. As a point of reference, look at Gmail's history.

6. Blogs remain underused by marketers. Despite the ability of a well-executed company blog to feed social media, support sales, and aid search optimization, many senior executives still consider them a cost of doing business. May be it's that they're just not sexy. For my marketing dollar, they're worth the investment if done well. (Here are some blogging examples to show you how.)

7. Social media is not just for kids anymore! What a difference a year makes. Across age groups social media usage is similar. There's more difference between men and women. This is attributable to the fact women tend to be more social via communications platforms.

socialnetworkdemographics-comscoreSource: "It's a Social World," comScore

In terms of time spent, there's a bigger discrepancy between teenage social media users and older segments. This difference is attributable to the fact teens communicate via social media instead of IM, text, and phone.

socialnetworkingengagement-comscoreSource: "It's a Social World," comScore

8. We're connected. Mobile, specifically smartphone and tablet usage, support social media engagement. Across mobile operating systems and age groups, Facebook is the number two site or app accessed. Across age groups, YouTube's app is accessed by over 50 percent of users and Pandora's app is accessed by over 20 percent of users.

top10mobilewebsites-nielsenmobileappbyage-nielsenSource: "Mobile Media Report," Q3 2011, Nielsen

9. Shopping is social again. Social commerce evolved and took off in 2011. It wasn't just social media engagement. Social commerce came in a variety of forms. Driven by smartphones, they were used in retail establishments to get product information and customer reviews.

preferredsourceforinfo-nielsenSources: Nielsen, NM Incite

Also, it included snapping a photo and sending it to family and friends before purchase. Marketers should understand that if shoppers discover a lower price via mobile, they may buy from your competitor before they leave your store.

10. Social media metrics gain attention. No surprise here. As social media becomes an increasing portion of marketing budgets, marketers must be able to show measurable results for their investment. For many, tracking social media return, particularly ROI, remains elusive. Chief Marketer research revealed 40 percent of marketers weren't effective at assessing social media results.

emarketer-chiefmarketer

Sources: eMarketer, Chief Marketer

To ensure that your social media marketing can be tracked, incorporate a call-to-action and a related, targeted promotion code. Further, before you start your marketing campaign, ensure you can measure these elements after your campaign.

What's notable about this list? Social media continues to be an important element of every marketer's plans regardless of whether you're focused on B2C, B2B, not-for-profit and solopreneurs. Over the coming years, businesses will become more adept at handling social media and integrating it into their marketing mix in a way that yields positive, measurable results. Additionally, it'll be incorporated across corporate functions so it's no longer just marketing's responsibility.

What do you think of this list? Are there any other social media events that you'd add to it? If so, please include your suggestions in the comment section below.

Wishing you and yours a happy and healthy New Year.

Happy marketing,

Heidi Cohen

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Heidi Cohen

Heidi Cohen is the President of Riverside Marketing Strategies, an interactive marketing consultancy. She has over 20 years' experience helping clients increase profitability by developing innovative marketing programs to acquire and retain customers based on solid analytics. Clients include New York Times Digital, AccuWeather.com, CheapTickets, and the UJA. Additionally, Riverside Marketing Strategies has worked with numerous other online content/media companies and e-tailers.

Prior to starting Riverside Marketing Strategies, Heidi held a number of senior-level marketing positions at The Economist, the Bookspan/Doubleday Direct division of Bertelsmann, and Citibank.

Her blog, HeidiCohen.com, was nominated as a finalist for Top Social Media Blog of 2012 by Social Media Examiner.

Heidi is also a popular speaker on current industry topics.

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