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Paid Social: Cliff Notes to 3 Social Media Studies

Paid Social: Cliff Notes to 3 Social Media Studies

Marketing is drowning in data but starving for wisdom.  Or perhaps, we are drowning in wisdom but starved for time.

In either case, I’ve paused to delve into three social media studies or surveys that crossed my screen in recent months and distilled them to the most important findings. This also includes some important commentary based on my experience or observations.

These three studies seem to, in part, answer these three questions:

  • How is our brand doing in social media relative to comparable brands?
  • What is the impact of social media engagement on the business?
  • How can we amplify, broaden or otherwise, accelerate the effects?

The cliff notes to three recent social media studies follow below.

1) Benchmarks for Brands in Social Media

Benchmarks for Brands in Social MediaEngagement on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn dropped from January to June according to the 2016 Social Media Index a benchmarking study by TrackMaven, which develops marketing analytics software.  The study, which looked at “average interactions per post per brand per 1,000 followers,” also noted engagement ticked up slightly on Twitter.

On average, brands posted 422 times per month on Twitter and 76 times per month to LinkedIn. Posts by brands to Facebook and Instagram range in-between with – by looks of the chart nearby – roughly 200 and 140 posts per month, respectively.

With the exception of Twitter, and possibly Instagram, the volume of brand posts seems extra ordinarily high in my professional opinion. Though the study doesn’t say, my guess the software that produced this data is probably counting comments and replies as a post, or similar explanation, such as brands with multiple pages on each platform.

The brand that posts too often to Facebook risks having those posts “hidden” or unfollowed by the audience, and you can’t get it back, even if you try to buy it.  The net effect is similar on other platforms as well.

Certainly, what works best will vary across organization – the study does break down some benchmarks by vertical.  For example, in “computer software” brands post to Twitter and average of 317 times per month and earn 16 interactions.  By contrast “legal services” post an average of 173 times per month and earn 151 interactions, according to the study.

Recommended reading:

2) For Business, it Pays to Tweet Back

For Business, it Pays to Tweet Back“When a customer Tweets at a business and receives a response, they are willing to spend 3–20% more on an average priced item from that business in the future,” according to a study released by Twitter.  Merely acknowledging customers on social media can lead to tangible sales outcomes, such as:

  • $8.98 more per transaction for an airline
  • $2.84 per transaction for pizza delivery
  • $8.35 per transaction for telecom companies

That’s real money for brands merely for acknowledging their customers.  However, the study takes it further:  customers with a positive interaction – a response – are 44% more likely to share their experience and 30% more likely to recommend a brand.  This is all the more reason to believe good customer service is good marketing.

Those negative tweets?  Those are opportunity to turn things around too.

“And among telco customers, conversations that started with a negative Tweet resulted in higher brand favorability as well as 3X higher willingness to pay for their monthly wireless plan, compared to those whose original Tweet was positive,” according to Wayne Y. Huang, a research for Twitter who penned the post.

Recommended reading:

3) Paid Social more Effective than Organic

Paid Social more Effective than Organic (study)
“Most enterprise marketers say paid social media is more effective than organic (unpaid) social media in helping their business achieve its goals,” according to reporting from MarketingProfs citing research from Clutch.

Clutch survey more than 300 marketers involved in social media marketing and found 59% believed paid social is more effective than organic. Despite this, more than half of all marketers only, or mostly, use organic means to reach an audience, according to the survey.

The framing is concerning, because as it is in so many aspects of marketing, it creates the perception of a dichotomy – you can have this or that, but not both. The reality for most brands is, they probably need a combination of many things.

With few exceptions, it would be challenging for most brands to use paid social media effectively without an organic presence. By the same token, even a modest investment in paid social media can greatly extend organic reach.

“It’s rare for social media marketers not to use organic and paid social media together. 86% combine organic and paid approaches,” according to key findings from the study. “The same holds true for B2B and B2C. In both categories nearly half use organic and paid social media equally.”

Recommended reading:

* * *

In social media, best practices change rapidly.  Yet if we make an effort to review the data, perhaps we gain some wisdom and make more productive use of our time.

What stood out for you in these studies?


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Photo credit: Flickr, mkhmarketing, The Art of Social Media (CC BY 2.0)

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