Social Study: Facebook Meh, YouTube GR8!

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New research shows B2B marketers are getting on board with an array of social media efforts -- but most of the major channels are focusing efforts for future attention in video.

It’s not all relationship statuses and brunch pics out there, people.

New research shows B2B marketers on board with a broad array of social media efforts targeted at lead-generation and lead-nurturing. All of the major channels are getting attention as businesses try to find their voice in the social environment. The future, much like it was at the end of the 19th century, appears to be in moving pictures.

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The 2013 Social Media Marketing Industry Report, published by Social Media Examiner, queried some 3,000 marketers to fathom how they use social media to grow and promote their businesses. Not surprisingly, the study finds today’s marketing professionals place high value on social media, with 86 percent saying social media is important for their business, up from 83 percent last year.

About 80 percent of SMBs say they’ve full incorporated social media into their traditional marketing activities.

The reason for this enthusiasm: It works. Eighty-nine percent say the top benefit for their social networking efforts is increased exposure; 75 percent say it has increased traffic to their Web sites. An,d while it takes time to turn that higher profile into real revenue, more than half of those surveyed who've been using social media for at least three years say it's helped them improve sales.

A side benefit: Nearly half of those who spend at least six or more hours a week working the social media scene have realized an overall reduction in marketing expenses.

Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn dominate the social platforms being used by 92 percent, 80 percent and 70 percent of businesses, respectively, according to the research. But, the marketers surveyed appear unsure about Facebook’s value in the business world; only one in three believes their Facebook efforts are effective.

So where are they headed? YouTube takes top honors for future investment with 69 percent of those surveyed saying they plan to increase their use of the video-sharing platform. And if you thought Old Time Radio Hour was a dying art, consider this: A quarter of marketers say they’ll increase podcasting activities this year.

“What are the top questions that social media marketers want answered? It turns out the number one question is what social tactics are the most effective,” said Social Media Examiner founder Michael Stelzner. “Ninety percent of marketers want to get the answer to that particular question.”

The survey results support the work of vendors like Dell Inc., which have been working diligently to get partners trained up on social media to improve the channel’s overall marketing posture. Dell has been training partners on the finer points of social marketing for about a year, and last week took that instruction to the next level with a revamped channel partner training program, Social Media 2.0, to give participants more practical, functional strategies for putting social media to work in their day-to-day marketing efforts.

“Areas where we were high level we’re now taking it to the next level,” Kathy Schneider, Dell’s executive director of global channel marketing and programs, tells Channelnomics. “We’ve had indications [over the past year] that partners were getting more savvy with social efforts. This is about delivering the help that’s needed to make partners better at what they do.”

The program leverages Dell’s own robust and successful social media experience.

“The best way to approach this is to show [partners] by example that this is something that’s going to add value,” said Schneider. “They’re hearing what it can do for them, and seeing how it’s helping others.”

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