Are Companies Abandoning Tools That Still Work?
In 2011, The Center for Marketing Research at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth conducted a study on the "the usage of social media in fast-growing corporations," in order to determine which social media tools companies find most effective.
The team of researches did phone interviews with 170 companies that were part of the Inc. 500 list for 2011. The results indicate that social media is indeed playing a huge part in companies' marketing strategies. The researchers found that aside from Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, companies are now using YouTube, texting, Foursquare, and downloadable mobile apps more often. On the other hand, the uses of blogging, message boards, video blogging, podcasting, and MySpace have declined.
Unsurprisingly, when it comes to usage, Facebook comes in as the most popular social media platform, with 74% of respondents using it. LinkedIn arrives as a very close second, with 73% of companies saying that they use it, while Twitter sits in third place, with 64%.
As previously mentioned, the use of blogging declined from last year, with 37% (down from 50% last year) of companies reporting that they use it.
The Ironic Results of the Study
According to the study, when the respondents were "asked if the use of social media has been successful for their business, the overwhelming response for almost every tool is that it has been. More than 80% of companies rated tools as successful with the exception of Foursquare (68%) and MySpace (0%)."
Ironically though, while blogging did see a decline in usage from 2011, the companies that STILL use it rated it as 92% successful. Popular social media tools were also considered as successful, though they weren't rated as high. Eighty-two percent of respondents found marketing success in Facebook, while Twitter and LinkedIn got scores of 86% and 90% respectively.
Indeed, some findings of this study do have a paradoxical twist to them. While the usage blogging dropped from 50% in 2010 to 37% in 2011, it was still rated as one of the most highly successful tools, besting even Facebook and LinkedIn. Is it possible that companies are now abandoning tools that still work in favor of more popular platforms that are surrounded with more hype? After all, with Facebook reaching 800 million users last year, and LinkedIn going public in 2011, it wouldn't be a surprise if marketers were suddenly drawn to these social networks. Nonetheless, companies should understand that just because something isn't all hyped up or exciting, doesn't mean that it won't be effective. Blogging, for instance, still proves to have a high ROI for those that still use it.
How to Make Blogging Work
Perhaps before moving on from blogging, companies should first reexamine their strategy when threading the blogosphere. Maybe the lack of success is due to erratic posting. When it comes to blogging, the most effective tactic that needs to be carried out is being consistent with posts. Regular publishing blog posts, as opposed to unpredictable posting schedules will definitely increase the chances that readers will come back.
Posting across multiple social networks is also effective in getting the word out about a blog. Aside from posting your latest entries on Facebook and Twitter, be sure to add your recent post to social sites such as StumbleUpon, LinkedIn, Delicious, Reddit, and Digg. If applicable, why not pin images on Pinterest? They may not have as many users as Facebook and Twitter, but there are still people on these sites, and since they're free anyway, you don't really have anything to lose if you use them to further publicize your posts. Don't think that social media should be an all or nothing battle between networks and sites. Remember that these sites can—and should—work together.
Image credit: Ethan Hein on Flickr