Today, the average small- or medium-sized business likely has a number of questions about how to promote itself on and offline. These questions might include “what is SEO marketing?” or “how can I use the internet to succeed in the real world?” Increasingly, companies who are asking these questions are finding answers in social media: several recent reports suggest that social media marketing will increase significantly over the next four years.
After surveying more than 5,000 marketers, the cloud computing company Salesforce found that 70% of their respondents planned to boost their social media spending in 2015. Meanwhile, Forrester Research, an independent research company, predicted that social media marketing will hit $9.7 billion in the United States this year, eventually reaching $17.3 billion in 2019, an increase of almost 80%.
The ways marketers plan to spend these amounts are equally expansive. According to Salesforce, 80% of marketers reported that they would focus on Facebook, while 70% said they would also spend time and effort on Twitter. LinkedIn was the third most popular choice, with 62% of the respondents planning to use it in their marketing efforts, while Google+ and YouTube tied for the final place, with each drawing the attention of 56% of the group.
However, the most telling statistic is the role these marketers feel social media marketing has in the modern business world: 64% of the marketers Salesforce questioned said they consider this tactic a “critical enabler” of products and services. In contrast, only 25% of participants gave the same answer in 2014.
The growing popularity of this online marketing solution may seem sudden to some, but many internet marketing agencies say they aren’t surprised.
The results of these recent studies may have been foreshadowed by a previous survey, conducted by the media and online marketing companies Gigaom and Extole, Inc. in 2014. In this report, marketers ranked social media behind email as the most effective method for brand awareness and customer retention.
Additionally, marketers listed social media behind email marketing, SEO and referral marketing in terms of customer acquisition, and behind email, referral, content marketing and SEO for conversion. However, the results indicated that the marketers felt pressured to use social media to appeal to consumers in a quick, cost-effective way. With social media remaining as prevalent as ever, it isn’t surprising to learn that this form of marketing is beginning to seem more appealing to the experts.