When it comes to social media marketing, there are more than a few details to consider—target audiences, keywords, hashtags, influencers—the list goes on and on. But at its core, social media marketing is just what all of social media is, a conversation. Ergo Social Media Week is the ultimate gathering of the savviest of conversationalists, and those conversationalists convened recently in the Windy City.
As you might imagine, the week was full of facts and figures on exactly where social media is headed as a marketing tool. At a talk on “Social Best Practices from Top Brands in 2015” the growth and power of social was evident through some pretty compelling stats. Here are some of the most revealing areas of growth:
- Video engagement on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram grew 123% in 2015.
- Activity across Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram increased by 52% (with most of that growth happening on Instagram).
- Instagram saw the largest increase in social actions per post as well, with a 54% bump.
Image Credit: Shareablee
- The industry that saw the most growth in social actions across Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram was Financial Services, with an increase of 36%.
These stats were supported by a wide range of social media success stories. Here are some of the highlights that were shared.
Step Up the Visuals
While the growth of social media in financial services is encouraging for B2B brands trying to take advantage of social as a tool, the growing impact of video and Instagram in particular blows every other stat away. Visuals are now all but a necessity for social media marketing.
One of the more promising insights shared was the potential for visual searches. We all know, visuals are an essential part of any social media plan, and search/social monitoring tools will soon reflect that, allowing us to search for specific parts of images. For example, say Coca Cola wanted to find images that have been shared with your brand logo in them, whether the person who posted those pictures tagged your brand in them or not.
Technology similar to facial recognition makes that possible, and it’s the next step for social monitoring, according to Sysomos. Pinterest’s new search feature, which allows users to search for parts of images across all pins, is an example of the kind of visual search already in action.
Buzzword Alert! The Big Picture with Social Intelligence
Data, data, and more data, and the need to sift through the noise was a consistent theme throughout the week. This need for measurement and monitoring is nothing new, but the ways it’s being used continues to evolve, and with it, the latest buzzword has emerged: social intelligence. But, before you roll your eyes over yet another buzzword, let’s consider its meaning:
Social intelligence is a data science that aggregates what people are saying on social platforms into trends, themes, observations, and analytical commentary. To put it simply, it puts the learnings of that social listening into action.
As much data as there is to be gleaned from social media marketing, it seems we can never get enough, and the conversations during Social Media Week reflected that. At “The Future of Social Data: Social Intelligence” Sysomos shared a startling stat from 2010: The universe of data will grow fifty times between 2010 and 2020 (for more, see the full presentation at the end of this post). In the five years since, that’s only become more true. We are flooded with data, the trick is sorting out the most relevant and useful data, both in monitoring and analyzing.
Taking all of this information and making it work for your brand on social, brings us back to the heart of social intelligence and how it can guide social media strategy. At a session called “Using Social Intelligence Across Your Entire Business”, the conversation turned towards this mindset extending beyond just metrics into other social sciences, i.e. psychology, sociology, and anthropology. Social intelligence is about looking beyond social media metrics to the larger pattern and trends. It reminds us to think beyond “likes” and “follows” to the bigger picture.
These are just a few of the topics covered during Social Media Week. Check back next week for more Social Media Week insights in part II.