How small- to medium-size businesses are using social media in 2015 | Social Media Savvy | SierraSun.com

How small- to medium-size businesses are using social media in 2015 | Social Media Savvy

Milena Regos
Special to the Sun-Bonanza

working on laptop, close up of hands of businessman

First off, what are the most important questions and challenges marketers face in 2015?

1. Tactics: What social tactics are most effective?

2. Engagement: What are the best ways to engage my audiences with social media?

3. Measurement: How do I measure the return on my social media marketing? Only 42 percent agreed they are able to measure their social activities – a challenging area for marketers but one that seems to have improved over the years.

4. Audience: How do I find my target audience with social media?

5. Tools: What are the best social media management tools?

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Sound familiar? Below, read findings from a recent survey from Social Media Examiner to learn more about how businesses are using social media in 2015.

Participation and Importance

Ninety-six percent of marketers indicated they are participating in social media marketing, with a whopping 92 percent stating that social media is important to their businesses.

Measurements

Although only 42 percent of marketers state they know how to measure their social media marketing, a much higher number 72 percent actually analyze their activities.

With regards to the largest social media network, Facebook, 45 percent of marketers feel their efforts there are working.

The majority of marketers either doesn't know or thinks their Facebook efforts are not working.

Integrated Marketing

Personally, I'm very pleased to see that 84 percent of marketers say they have integrated their social media activities with their traditional marketing.

I just hope this doesn't mean putting their social media logos on their print advertisements.

Time Commitment

I know this one is a biggie for most people. Where do you find the time to spend on social media?

A significant 64 percent of marketers stated they are using social media for 6 hours or more with 41 percent using it for 11 or more hours weekly.

Although it's not necessary a full time job, it can certainly be a huge time suck and you need to plan accordingly for it. If you don't have time to dedicate to social media, your options are to delegate or hire more people.

There is also a reverse relationship between experience and how much time marketers spend on social media. The less experienced marketers spend less time.

Age is a factor as well with the younger marketers spending more time on social media.

I'm not sure if we just get sucked into the social media vortex, prove to the CEO that social media is actually worth it, avoid other projects for social media sake or some other reason for this.

Benefits of Social Media Marketing

The biggest benefit of social media marketing continues to be increased exposure, followed by website traffic, developing loyal fans, provided marketplace insight and generated leads.

Another benefit from social media marketing is reduced marketing expenses. For marketers using social media for a year or more, improved search engine rankings are another positive effect.

Commonly used social media networks

Facebook of course continues to be in the lead, followed by Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, YouTube, Pinterest and Instagram.

Future Trends

Most marketers want to spend more time and increase their activities on Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube while decreasing their efforts on Facebook.

Instagram, Google+ and Pinterest are also on marketers' radar for increased time and effort. Eighty-two percent of marketers have no plans to use Snapchat in 2015.

When it comes to content, marketers plan to increase their use of visuals (73 percent), videos (72 percent), blogging (69 percent) and podcasting (26 percent).

Milena Regos is principal and founder of Out & About Marketing, an Incline Village-based digital marketing and social media consulting firm. She can be reached for comment at milena@outandaboutmarketing.com. This post first appeared on Out&AboutMarketing.com.