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Stat Watch: All Things Social in 2016

Posted on 3.29.2016

The efforts put in by marketers on the various social networks seem to finally be paying off.

Salesforce’s recently released 2016 State of Marketing Report indicates that 75 percent of marketing leaders say that social media is generating a return on investment (ROI) compared to last year when 27 percent of marketers said social would eventually generate ROI and 28 percent said it already generated ROI (accounting for 55 percent of all survey respondents).

What’s more, top teams (those survey respondents who have indicated they are overall “extremely satisfied” with the current outcomes realized as a direct result of their company’s marketing investment) are 1.7 times more likely than underperformers to align their social media marketing strategy with other social activities such as customer service and pursuing a more unified customer view.

In fact, Vala Afshar, digital evangelist at Salesforce, attributes this better ROI with brands’ ability to detect customer sentiment in real-time and then create automated workflows. These rapid decisions are proving to add value in that high-performing marketers are better at staying on top of social, with top teams being 11 times more likely than underperformers to be excellent at responding to social interactions in a timely manner.

There are many social media platforms that allow managers to track and respond to incoming brand mentions as well as schedule outgoing content. Salesforce’s Social Studio is one of them, giving marketers the ability to not only participate in brand mentions across the social Web, but also identify topics of interest and where the most influential conversations are happening - to use this information to inform marketing decisions.

For many marketers surveyed in the report, Facebook is surprisingly not considered one of those top influential channels. When it comes to what marketers perceive as the most effective social channels, what’s interesting is that moderate- (81 percent) and high-performing (96 percent) teams ranked Facebook as the most effective channel, but low performers don't feel the same. Fifty-three percent of low-performing teams rate WhatsApp as the most effective social channel, followed by LinkedIn (47 percent) and SlideShare (47 percent), and then Facebook (45 percent).

While low-performing teams aren’t optimizing their marketing in ways that high-performing teams are, such as with the use of tech (only 7 percent of underperformers qualify as heavy tech adopters, compared to 53 percent of high performers), teams of all abilities are boosting budgets for advertising on social platforms in 2016, making it the third largest area for increased investment (third to social media marketing and social media engagement).

Among high-performing marketing teams, 80 percent will increase spending on advertising on social platforms (compared to 65 percent of all teams). This large increase could be a combination of diminished organic reach (specifically on Facebook, the network these high performers find to be most effective) and the increased targeting capabilities offered by technology as well as the networks themselves.

Company successes and failures (and everything in between) are, of course, important for individual businesses to monitor but its cross-industry benchmarks like those detailed in Salesforce’s newest report that open up questioning to see what can be done better. For many, as detailed in the report, that’s improving on customer journey strategies (in which a customer relationship management solution is imperative) and integrating the customer experience (in which there is transparency and a unified view of mobile, social, email, customer service and other campaigns is crucial).

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