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Social media marketing “trends reports” are usually exciting: new toys, bells and whistles. So, it’s actually refreshing when you come across a trend report that’s more honest in dealing with people’s problems. As much as we love having fun on social (stay tuned for our next blog post!), the new 2015 Social Media Marketing Trends survey and report from TrustRadius and Simply Measured is a must-read for this week.

Marketing Trends That Matter
One of the dominant trends that came out of a 2015 poll of 600 social media practitioners is that doing social media effectively and with a big-picture perspective is tough – even for the pros. From consultants to CMOs to community managers, social media professionals are having a challenging time doing three things:

  1. Demonstrating the value of social programs.
  2. Integrating social media into the overall business.
  3. Discovering/developing the right set of tools to manage and measure social media activities.

TrustRadius’s polling included a wide sample of businesses of all sizes and social media maturity levels. For the most part, these challenges are equal regardless of size and maturity. (Download the report for demographic breakdowns.)

#1 Measuring ROI
This has been – and continues to be – one of social’s biggest challenges. “60% of all respondents included it as one of the top three most challenging aspects of their social media program,” reports TrustRadius. Mid-sized companies (51-1,000 employees) and companies that self-identified as having an intermediate social maturity level were most likely to report this challenge.

Perhaps one of the reasons measuring ROI is so challenging is that many companies get hung up on engagement (likes, comments, etc.), which is sometimes referred to as a “vanity metric” – that is to say, it doesn’t have a direct correlation with a sale. Read more about social media ROI.

#2 Integrating Social Media
If multiple departments influence your social media strategy, you may find it difficult to identify the most important goals and stay on task pursuing them. Survey respondents indicated, “Brand awareness (71%),” “Drive website traffic (48%),” and “Audience reach/share of voice (38%),” as their top three goals on social media. Developing consistent goals and – in larger organizations – the influence to fully pursue those goals remains a major challenge.

#3 Managing Social Media
The vast majority of businesses use just 1-2 software products to manage social media activities. Respondents favored native analytic tools (65%), followed by a social media management platform, such as Hootsuite (62%), and web analytics, such as Google Analytics (59%), as their top three tools. Most respondents believe they understood their social media audience – possibly a result of using the right set of tools.

What’s Your One Biggest Challenge on Social?
Comment below, and let us know! You might even find a solution here…