Social media engagement isn’t just a box that companies can check on their
communications to-do lists. The most successful campaigns are constantly evolving
and refined over time. In turn, the most successful refinements are often
informed by industry trends that help companies understand what works and what
doesn’t when it comes to reaching consumers, investors, business partners, and
other corporate stakeholders in the social media sphere.


1. Social Media use now accounts for one
out of every six minutes
spent online in the U.S.

In 2007, social networking represented about 1
in every 12 minutes
spent online. This two-fold increase illustrates what we
already know – that social media have become an integral part of American life.
In its earliest days, social networking was dominated by Myspace. Then, Facebook
darted ahead and left Myspace in its dust. But with time, more competitors came
out of the woodwork – and more options for business began to take shape.
LinkedIn, Twitter and Tumblr are just a few examples. Today, social networks
aren’t only used to find and converse with new and old friends, they are now a
means by which companies can remain transparent, provide unique customer
service, and engage loyal and new consumers.

2. Users say they are more likely to buy if a business answers their
questions on Twitter.

Consumer complaints are an unavoidable reality. Before social media,
companies didn’t have a direct line to their consumers when it came to problems
with their products and services. With the connectivity made possible by the
social media explosion, companies have found influential ways to engage their
customers, solve individual issues, and build loyalty for their brands. As this
shows, customers appreciate a brand’s quick response and dedication to
problem resolution. As such, utilizing social networking platforms to engage
with consumers – both to answer their questions and provide updates – is the new
paradigm in customer

3. In 2010, U.S. companies spent more on digital marketing than on
print for the first time ever.

According to a study by California-based Outsell, companies are directing
dollars toward the channels that generate the most qualified leads and that are
the most effective building brand loyalty.  The study described the spending
shift as “an industry milestone crossover event.” In Hubspot’s State of
Inbound Marketing Report
, 62 percent of surveyed companies indicated that
social media takes the top spot in their lead-generation. Given the
effectiveness and relatively low costs of engagement on these channels, budgets
have been adjusted accordingly. Nearly 42 percent of companies indicated that if
they’ve already allocated a portion of their marketing dollars to social media,
they would increase this amount over the course of the year. As the advertising
opportunities on social media channels become more innovative and robust, this
trend will only continue at an increasingly rapid pace.

4. In 2011, more than 50 percent of Fortune 1,000 companies have

CMOs at Fortune 1,000 companies not only invest in corporate blogs, they say
the cost of doing business today
.” Even with the amount of effort behind
corporate Facebook and Twitter accounts, U.S. companies find it imperative to
maintain a public-facing blog for marketing purposes. No longer are companies
using blogs to share information and behind-the-scene looks at their operations;
they are increasingly realizing that blogs are another form of engaging their
audiences by eliciting comments and feedback. As this trend continues, those
firms not engaging via blogs will increasingly realize the value of the
blogosphere to further corporate functions, communications, and brand

5. YouTube is the second
largest search engine in the world.

When most people think of search engines, they think of the key players:
Google, Yahoo, and Bing.  But more and more Internet users are turning to
YouTube for information. Watching a video is easier, usually more informative,
and less distracting than reading online. Furthermore, people don’t often have
time to read a lengthy article. Additionally, as any well-seasoned
SEO-strategist knows, the key to staying on the top of the search results is
regularly publishing new content. This can include Tweets, blog posts, Facebook
updates and YouTube videos.  Publishing new videos will not only keep
you on top of YouTube results, but can significantly help with other SEO
efforts. Thus, it is increasingly important to optimize the content of your
video to be searchable on YouTube, which in turn, will also significantly
improve your Google search ranking.

6. Social media advertising spend will increase from the $2.1 billion
spent in 2010 to $8.3 billion by 2015.

When social networking first surfaced in 2006, advertising spending was less
than a mere $500
over the course of the year.  By 2007, this figure had increased 155
percent to $1.2 billion. In 2011, advertisers spent approximately $4.2 billion.
At $1.58 billion, the U.S. spends more than half of the world’s social
networking advertising dollars. The shift from traditional advertising to online
advertising was a slow one.  But, as more and more companies understand the
increasing value of social media, there’s been a steady trend in moving
advertising dollars onto such platforms.