Frederic Gonzalo’s Blog

The (Sorry) State of Social Marketing in 2014

Not too long ago on this blog I shared the results from a recent study conducted by Sprout Social and meant to measure How Socially Engaged is Your Brand. One of the many shocking findings was that across 15 industries, on average 4 out of 5 comments left on a brand’s social media page went unattended!

This echoed previous findings from 2012 and 2013, highlighting the discrepancy between brand presence on various social media and their responsiveness to questions, comments and customer care. Now, a new study by Social Bakers highlights a similar gap, but this time from a marketing perspective.

 Brands Want Social Acquisitions Without Giving Customer CareSOCIAL MEDIA AS ACQUISITION CHANNEL

To come up with the findings to this survey, Social Bakers conducted a social media pulse check across 82 countries and 20 industries. They asked more than 500 marketers what they were focusing on and, more importantly, what they’re weren’t.

Sadly enough, as can be seen in the chart above, it appears marketers worldwide are treating social media as just another broadcast channel, for lead generation and customer acquisition. Social customer care? Not a priority, obviously, as per the Sprout Social study.

According to Social Bakers, 62% of brands consider “customer acquisition” as a priority in 2014, while only  29% will prioritize “social customer care”. Surprised? Not really. Disappointed? Surely…

The Larger The Company the More Diverse the Social Marketing SupportAnother interesting finding that confirms many observations found with small and medium companies I work with, comes in the chart above. We can clearly see who, among senior management, supports social marketing initiatives.

In smaller companies, leadership usually will come from owners or Chief Executive Officers (CEO), while in larger companies this leadership is incumbent to whomever heads the digital efforts for the brand. I would have liked to see how companies handle social media initiatives and accountability, since this chart seems to comfort the traditional approach, where Marketing seems in charge of “all things social & digital” instead of having various departments claim their stake in social efforts.


Perhaps the most compelling story is told from this last chart, showing which social media marketers will focus on in 2014. While it’s no surprise to see Facebook on top, with 81% of marketers planning to put more efforts there this year, I was somewhat caught off-guard with the fact that almost one in four marketers won’t put any priority on Google+, or that one in three marketers won’t put any priority on Pinterest in 2014!

After all, Pinterest is said to bring more referral traffic to web sites than Google+, Linkedin and Twitter… combined!

On Which Social Media Will Marketers Focus in 2014?

From a tourism and hospitality point of view, I would certainly be curious to get more insights as I question marketers in this vertical would answer along the same lines.

Visual platforms such as Pinterest or Instagram are becoming hot commodities, in particular with the latter’s integration within Facebook, and we are seeing more and more destinations making creative use of Instagram.

Still, while I can understand the general public’s slow adoption for Google+ as a mainstream social media platform, it’s startling to see only 14% of marketers placing it as ‘high priority’ in 2014, considering the high potential for search engine benefits, authorship rankings and overall positioning within the Google ecosystem, including YouTube.

Do any of these findings surprise you? Or do they confirm some of your observations? Do share your comments in the section below.

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