If you read or listen to the news, you have probably heard about financial troubles at LinkedIn, Meta (owner of Facebook and Instagram) and Twitter. In May 2023, for example, LinkedIn laid off 716 employees. The month before, Meta announced that it was shrinking its workforce by around 10,000 people. Since Elon Musk took over Twitter in 2022, the company has laid off more than 6,000 workers.
Could this signal the end of the social media era? What does it mean for how you should allocate your digital marketing budget? Don’t panic; just continue reading to find out how effective social media marketing is today.
In the 2023 Social Media Marketing Industry Report, 86 percent of marketers said that their social media marketing gave more exposure to their businesses, 76 percent found it increased traffic, 64 percent offered that it generated leads, 56 percent felt that it developed loyal fans and 55 percent said that it had improved sales. So, social media marketing is still producing positive results as a whole. But as with anything technology-related, things have shifted and it is important to keep up to date.
When you are choosing which social media platforms to spend time and money on, you want to select the ones that will give your company the best results. Every business has its own target market and goals, so you will need to do some experimentation to see what works best for you. However, there are some broad results that might influence those decisions.
Below is a table showing what percentage of marketers say they are getting positive results for each platform, by marketing goal, according to Social Media Marketing’s report.
Develop loyal fans
Overall, Facebook was the best performing network for boosting traffic, generating leads, developing loyal fans and increasing sales, with Instagram winning in the category of increasing brand exposure.
This efficacy is reflected in the number of marketers using Facebook (89 percent) and Instagram (80 percent) compared to the other social networks, LinkedIn (64 percent), YouTube (54 percent), Twitter (44 percent) and TikTok (26 percent). [Related article: Tick-Tock: How to Get Your Business on TikTok Before It’s Too Late]
Your social media strategy will also be impacted by whether you are selling to consumers or to other businesses. Here are the usage numbers for each social network on this criteria.
As you might expect, LinkedIn is the social network of choice for B2B marketing while Facebook is nearly universally used for B2C marketing. Facebook and Instagram have become less important for B2B marketing in the last year, with their combined share of B2B marketing dollars declining from 51 percent in 2022 to 43 percent in 2023.
It is important to stay abreast of trends over time so you can adjust your social strategy as needed. Overall, Facebook users are declining in number. When asked what they consider to be the most important social media platform, marketers have shown less confidence in Facebook over time, with responses shrinking from 61 percent in 2019 to only 45 percent in 2023. LinkedIn’s prominence has grown from 14 percent to 21 percent, as has Instagram’s, from 14 percent to 22 percent. Twitter started out at 4 percent and has held steady at 2 percent since 2021, and YouTube has increased from 5 percent to 8 percent.
Nearly 6 in 10 (59 percent) marketers say they will be increasing organic activities on YouTube and more than half (56 percent) of marketers say they will be expanding their activities on Instagram in the next 12 months. A similar percentage (55 percent) will be amping up their LinkedIn activity.
Facebook reigns supreme when it comes to the value marketers place on paid advertising, with 46 percent saying it is the top social ad choice. This is a reduction from 51 percent who said so in 2022. Instagram came in a distant second with 13 percent saying it was the best place to advertise, followed by LinkedIn with 9 percent.
Now that you know that social media marketing still works, let’s dive deeper into what it can do for your brand.
Social media is a relatively low-cost way to increase brand awareness in the market because of the interconnectedness of its users. In addition to the exposure your products will get from any paid advertising, you also benefit from your followers’ sharing and reposting and can even profit from non-following customers who post about your company on social media. Social contests and highly shareable content can give you even more exposure to new potential customers.
Many social media marketers believe that online community building is essential to success. Consumers can get a feel of a company’s mission and attitude on social media. More people are starting to seek out brands on social media rather than search engines.
When customers need more information about your company and your products, your website is the best resource. It is also the place where you have everything in place to capture leads and make online sales. While you are probably investing in SEO and possibly paid search, social media is another great way to send people to your website. The traffic you get from social also tends to be more qualified since social followers are already familiar with your brand and are more likely to buy.
Since there are so many different forms of content that you can post on social media, it is a great way to inform and educate potential customers about your products’ features and benefits and to generate leads. For instance, it is easy to prompt them to take immediate action by filling out a web form to receive more information. Prospects can feel comfortable reaching out to you because they have had the opportunity to view the social proof provided by other users and learn about their (hopefully positive) experiences with your brand.
Social media is the evolution of ecommerce. Social media allows you to show products being used in real life, supports user-generated content and allows you to leverage influencers. Eighty percent of social media marketers say that customers buy more products on social platforms than on their brands’ websites or third-party platforms such as Amazon, said the State of Social Media Report. Instagram is the top site for in-app sales, yielding the highest return on investment (ROI).
>> Learn More: Reasons to Use Instagram for Your Business
Social media provides an additional, and often faster, way to handle customer questions and problems. Three in five respondents in a survey by Marketing Charts said their company uses social media for customer service already and two-thirds intend to increase these efforts in the next few years. Better customer service can translate into more business, with 91 percent of respondents in a survey by Fusion Connect and Gartner Peer Insights, saying they would pay more for a positive customer experience.
To know whether or not your efforts are proving successful, you need to measure your ROI. You have to know where your time, such as money, is going and you can use analytics to assist with that goal.
One of the simplest ways to see the correlation between your social engagement and sales is to use Google Analytics. The popular web analytics tool can show you which social networks are driving the most traffic, which content on your site attracts the most social media traffic and what kinds of posts at what time of day lead to the most conversions.
Start by setting up Advanced Segments. This allows you to set up filters for tracking data from the social networks you choose, such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
Then, once it’s configured, you can view all of your referral traffic from social sources in one place. You can break these down in any way you like, from tracking individual social sites or collections of sites. You could lump all the image-based social networks together, such as Pinterest and Instagram, to see how your visual strategy is faring, for instance.
You can also track how individual links you share on social networks are performing by using Google Analytics UTM parameters. This method is especially helpful if you’re running ads on Facebook, for example, and want to see how many clicks you get — and how many of those clicks convert. UTM parameters are tags that are added to the end of a specific URL to enable tracking and source attribution. You can build them using the Google Campaign URL Builder.
Once you have the results of your social media marketing, you will know what you are doing well and where you need to improve. Reallocate your effort and money to areas that are giving you good results and, over time, your ROI will improve.
Jayson DeMers contributed to this article.
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