Content Marketing: The State of Social 2016 and What's to Come

Buffer has just released its latest research report, The State of Social 2016. As we all hustle to get a jump on 2017, here's my take on the data.

Video is super important to content marketing strategies.

But time and money are holding us back from producing as much as we want to do.

Part of this might be perception -- marketers (and their managers) think that video has to be more time-consuming and expensive than it actually has to be.

In my experience, it all comes down to the right video production team. Some of them will make the process so easy, that the marketers hardly have to put any time into the project at all. And some require so much heavy lifting and direct supervision from the marketing team, that the project hardly seems worth it.

This all has an impact on the perceived cost of a video project, too. If you're paying someone a pretty penny to create a video and having to devote all or most of your time to the project, the total cost outweighs the perceived benefit of the project. 

Today's video teams have to be lean and agile. They have to be able to create great work quickly, affordably, and without requiring a whole lot of guidance from the marketers who hire them. And marketers have to be very clear about what they're looking for before launching a project so that those video teams can give them the right stuff without a thousand rounds of edits.

Social media is super valuable. We think.

While 85% of marketers say they use social media for brand visibility, almost 60% of marketers say driving traffic from social to their websites is a major challenge while about 50% named generating leads from social. So...it's valuable because we say it is? No wonder the third biggest challenge is measuring ROI on social. 

With a recent study noting how few of the links shared on social are ever clicked before being shared, it's no wonder that marketers are having a hard time proving exactly what makes social valuable...but are still convinced that it makes their brands more visible. 

Facebook marketing is still super important.

Surprise! People are clicking on those FB ads even more these days. In turn, FB advertising is becoming more expensive. But it's still super important. And while people used to decry brands' attempts at invading their FB feeds full of baby pics and political rants, it's now just par for the course. And that goes for every type of brand -- b2b as well as b2c.

Brace for Pinterest growth.

While 93% of marketers said they used Facebook and 89% Twitter, only 35% said they use Pinterest. I expect to see a lot of growth on that one in 2017. Pinterest is not just a social media channel. It's a search engine where your content can get found and clicked and shared again and again if you play the algorithm right. (Yes, 15% of those surveyed said they planned to invest less in the platform. But you can't invest less if you're not investing any. And so few are using the platform now, I still expect to see growth here.)

Social media is marketing.

Remember when "digital marketing" was a thing? Like a special thing...like there were "marketers" and "digital marketers." Well, the same evolution seems to be happening on social media now. Only 15% of survey respondents said social media was 100% all they did. The most common combos were doing content marketing, email marketing, or community management alongside social.  

 

What's your take on the data? What are you planning on doing differently in 2017?