Social media is now a crucial part of 87% of businesses marketing, but its value extends well beyond that.
So findsHootsuite, a social media management tool, in its Social Media BarometerReport, a global survey on the importance and use of social media within small, medium and enterprise organizations across industries.
Examining data from more than 9,000 responses across 19 countries, the annual report found social media to be a critical platform for global businesses to maintain competitive advantage, with social media expected to continue to grow in importance for their businesses and customers, particularly as social media’s use grows beyond marketing to drive value across the organisation.
“Our social media barometer report confirms what we’ve been hearing from customers large and small; that social media has become a critical channel for delivering a consistent customer experience across a business,” says Penny Wilson, CMO, Hootsuite.“With social increasingly how customers consume media; conduct research, ask questions and seek recommendations; make purchase decisions, engage with brands for support and show our loyalty, this is not a surprise. More organizations are discovering the value of social media within and beyond marketing, and the resulting direct impact it has on their bottom line.”
According to the study 87% agree that social media is important to staying competitive, and 80% report that social media is more important to their business and customers than it was last year.
A further 67% of respondents agree that social media will increasingly contribute to their company’s bottom line, with more than 54% of organisations noting social has moved outside the marketing team.
Almost 90% of organisations are using social to build brand awareness; 77% to manage their brand reputation; 71% for building and managing an engaged community; 61% to increase lead conversions and sales; 50% to gain market and customer insights; 47% for delivering customer service; 35% to attract job applicants; and 22% to identify crisis and manage communications.
However, despite the expanded use across the organizations, 58% of respondents still find it difficult to evaluate whether their social media campaigns are working, while 50% struggle with understanding and interpreting social data.
While historically, North America has led the charge in social media adoption, it has become apparent that regions like APAC, EMEA and LATAM are quickly gaining ground.
According to the report, EMEA organisations are less likely to utilise social media for selling (58%), gaining consumer insight (48%), identifying and nurturing leads (45%), and managing a crisis (21%) compared to the rest of the world.
Companies in EMEA are fans of having more social accounts compared to the rest of the world, with 53% of them having an average of 4 – 10 profiles.
Instagram is slightly less popular with EMEA organizations (69%) compared to the rest of the world.
The Social Media BarometerReport was distributed to more than a million social media customers worldwide, sourced from Hootsuite’s database. Respondents must have been responsible for or have oversight into social media strategy and/or execution for their organization. Conducted between February and May of 2018, the report summarizes responses from 9,278 individuals on their organization’s use of social media.