How to win the social media marketing horse race: Infographic

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Social media networks surpass one another each month, so it's hard to keep track of which platforms provide brands with the greatest reach.

Social media network growth has burst out of the gate, and brands that understand the nuances of each platform have greater opportunities for lead generation. According to The Content Marketing Institute, 87 percent of B2B brands and 84 percent of B2C businesses use social media to engage audiences and distribute digital content to prospective and current customers. Marketers who want to win social marketing results have to assess which networks best appeal to their specific audiences, but clear insights on how the platforms stack up can help. Our latest infographic shows that the race is on to see which network claims social media marketing’s coveted Triple Crown of reach, adoption and performance in 2013.

The mature horse often wins the face

Facebook clearly reaches the vastest global audience today, with 1 billion monthly active users. Brands developing new social media marketing campaigns must consider Facebook’s reach as a determining factor for which platform receives the most funding this year. However, the runner-up networks also deserve some love and attention, especially for businesses targeting segmented audiences that spend time consuming media across the web.

Facebook's marketing reach.LinkedIn and Twitter might not reach as wide an audience as Facebook, but they both can certainly pack a punch when it comes to grabbing the attention of a niche audience. In December 2012, Twitter announced in true fashion via a Tweet that it had surpassed 200 million monthly active users, highlighting its continued growth over the years. Nearly a month later, LinkedIn reported that it had also reached 200 million monthly active users. These two networks offer their own internet marketing benefits: Twitter engages consumers in real-time, and LinkedIn serves an active professional community.

YouTube, while reaching more than 800 million monthly active users, typically gets put into a separate category from other social sites. The Google-owned network hasn’t always operated as a pure social hub, but as a media site where people consumed content, so YouTube must urgently catch up with the competition. Of course, YouTube shows the greatest potential for becoming a marketer’s best asset, with video marketing on the rise and visual media consumption at an all-time high. Check out Brafton’s infographic on how to optimize a YouTube channel for optimal reach and success here.

Google+ and Pinterest – two new services that continue to trudge forward – show that they can bring something of worth to the social media table. Google+ claims to reach approximately 135 million monthly global active users, but critics claim this number includes those internet users who log into their Gmail accounts and infrequently check their Google+ accounts. Pinterest, however, has a firm and growing member base. Forty million global monthly active users pin and share visual media on Pinterest, and marketers say this network compels internet users to react both online and offline.

Social media marketing: Where marketers placed their bets in 2012

When it comes to social media marketing adoption, Facebook wins again. The social giant has earned the trust of a staggering amount of organizations, with the next-best option – Twitter – leaps and bounds behind.

Social Media BetsThe Content Marketing Institute evaluated the B2B and B2C social landscape to determine where marketers would invest their time and resources in 2012 and beyond. The source found that 90 percent of B2Cs and 80 percent of B2Bs use Facebook to engage their audiences. As our graphic clearly highlights, marketers are much slower to invest in other social outlets.

  • Sixty-nine percent of B2Cs and 80 percent of B2Bs use Twitter.
  • Fifty-one percent of B2Cs and 83 percent of B2Bs leverage the power of LinkedIn.
  • Thirty-five percent of B2Cs and 26 percent of B2Bs pin content to Pinterest.
  • Sixty-five percent of B2Cs and 61 percent of B2Bs publish video content to YouTube.
  • Forty-one percent of B2Cs and 39 percent of B2Bs interact with new and existing customers via Google+.
Lead generation: Which horse won the conversion race?

Facebook lost leads 2012While the percentage of B2C organizations that generated leads through Facebook fell from 2011 to 2012, the social site still took top prize – again. The largest social media hub helps brands across all industries grab the attention of prospects more effectively than any other social media option…for now.

The race started out with six horses competing for top prize, but year-over-year data was only available for social media’s top three services: Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. According to Webmarketing123, the clear-cut winner – Facebook – helped 67 percent of B2Cs generate new leads in 2012 – a 6 percent year-over-year decline. Thirty-nine percent of B2Bs landed more leads via Facebook last year – up 4 percent from the previous year.

B2Cs using Twitter to generate leads saw a 3 percent year-over-year uptick in 2012, but B2Bs saw the volume of newly created leads drop 1 percent between 2012 and 2011. As for LinkedIn, B2Cs generated 9 percent more leads in 2012 through the service and B2Bs remained flat year-over-year.

The lead gen pony pen: Up-and-coming networks to watch

Pony Pen GraphicWhile metrics aren’t available for Pinterest, Google+ or YouTube in 2011, Webmarketing123 noted that 13 percent of B2Cs and 3 percent of B2Bs acquired new leads via Pinterest in 2012. More, 15 percent of B2Cs and 7 percent of B2Bs used Google+ to identify prospective customers. As for YouTube, its lead generation power remains somewhat of a mystery.

Social media marketing can help businesses show meaningful ROI, but it’s important to know which networks to focus on moving forward. Hopefully this infographic helps put the power of social media into greater perspective.

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Ted Karczewski is an Executive Communications Associate at Brafton. He works to develop his own voice and apply his passions to the evolving world of SEO and content marketing, but he doesn't shy away from writing for fun. After graduating from Suffolk University, Ted used his Communications degree to test out Sports Journalism before Marketing at Brafton.
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