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Social Media Marketing 2014 - Benchmarks Report

After several years of being the shiny new everyone covets and can't wait to use, social media is now becoming just another part of the marketing toolbox, a little banged up perhaps, maybe even a little rusty. As we enter 2014, it's time to consider what job social media is most suited to do for your brand. In the words of R. Crumb's Mr. Natural (look it up, younger set), "Get the right tool for the right job." It's time to polish up your social media marketing efforts and use it where it's needed most - wherever that is in your franchise organization's marketing objectives and goals.

While social media marketing (SMM) is still far from mature and, for many, still a conundrum, help is on the way. One potential source is a report from Ascend2 and Research Partners, in the form of a 20-page publication with an overly long, but perfectly descriptive name: "Social Media Marketing Research Benchmarks: The most challenging obstacles to social media marketing success in the year ahead and how marketers plan to overcome them."

The survey interviewed 523 global business leaders and marketing professionals and compiled 12 trends, with charts showing the responses by percentages. Here are half a dozen of the questions, with the summary conclusions.

How do you rate the effectiveness of social media for accomplishing your marketing objectives?
Social media marketing success is defined by the ability to achieve important marketing objectives. Only 15% of companies are "very effective" accomplishing this.

What are the most important objectives of your social marketing strategy in the year ahead?
"Soft" objectives such as increasing awareness (55%) still dominate social marketing. Measurable objectives like lead generation (43%) and web traffic (37%) are gaining importance.

What are the most challenging obstacles to achieving your important social marketing objectives?
Budget and staff limitations (47%) are financial challenges, while the inability to measure social marketing ROI (38%) is an obstacle overcome as analytics and skills improve.

What are the most effective social marketing tactics your company uses?
Creating and posting various forms of content (46%) are the most effective tactics used, followed by the use of email (35%) to engage your social media audiences.

What are the most difficult social marketing tactics to execute?
Videos (43%) for social marketing purposes have advanced from homemade to studio quality, increasing the technical difficulty of producing multi-media content.

Which of the following metrics attributed to social media does your company track?
Tracking the click-through rate (58%) from a social media post to a web page or content is also a measure of engagement (49%), referrals (46%), and other social media metrics (lead generation, reach, conversion rate, search engine rankings, ROI, and sales revenue).

Ascend2 partners with marketing agencies and marketing technology firms to generate new business opportunities through its turnkey Research Partner Programs, using integrated research, content creation, and research-based demand generation. Research benchmarks reports for 2014 are: content marketing, email marketing, marketing and sales alignment, search (SEO), brand marketing, website redesign, inbound marketing, marketing, and paid search (PPC). Learn more at www.Ascend2.com.

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