People make hundreds of decisions every day. Some of them are conscious, but most are unconsciously made based on information surrounding them.
Social media is one of the best examples of this. Exactly ninety-two percent of consumers report that they trust social media and word of mouth above all other forms of advertising. Because of this, some industries excel more than others.
There are individual brands within every industry that master social media, but few industries have as much widespread. Below are the seven industries that got social media right:
For the entertainment industry, social media comes naturally. In a study of Facebook posts from September 16 to December 15, 2015, the entertainment industry accounted for a whopping 63.2 percent of all posts across six different industries (retail, auto, telecom, financial services, food, and beverage). The industry with the second largest share was retail with only 12.4 percent.
When you look at the breakdown of those posts, something interesting stands out. Whereas photos and images account for the largest portion of posts in all five of the other industries, it only accounts for 11.2 percent in the entertainment industry. Traditional links, on the other hand, account for 79.3 percent of posts.
Is it possible that there's a lesson to be gleaned from this data? While visual imagery is certainly powerful, this shows that social media followers are still enticed by informative written content.
- Real Estate
Another one of the more socially active industries is real estate. Agents, brokers, developers, and property managers all use social media to get their properties in front of more people. These "virtual signs" prove far more lucrative than traditional "for sale" signs.
"You can use Facebook to create highly targeted advertisements, or simply ask friends to share properties on their profiles. This is an easy way to get people talking about your listings," a Houston-based property management company points out. "Facebook is currently the most conducive social media platform for marketing rentals, but Instagram could also be leveraged in some markets."
In essence, everything a brand does on social media to connect with users is a form of marketing or advertising. Therefore, it logically follows that the marketing industry would be proficient at using social media. According to the 2015 Social Media Marketing Industry Report (in which more than 3,700 marketers were surveyed) social networking sites like Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and LinkedIn were critical components of their overall strategies.
As you probably know, video marketing has quickly become one of the highest returning forms of social media content and 57 percent of marketers are currently using it (with 72 percent claiming they plan to increase their use of video in the future). Other findings from the industry report include:
- 96 percent of marketers use social media as a marketing tool.
- 92 percent of marketers believe social media is important to their businesses and/or clients.
- 22 percent of marketers have been using social media for more than five years.
- 84 percent of marketers have integrated their social media and traditional marketing activities.
It's no surprise that marketers get social media right, but it's interesting to see such widespread agreement on key issues and strategies.
The retail industry will always be near the top of the social media food chain. Larger companies - like Target and Costco, for example - will always be successful, but it's interesting to watch smaller retailers succeed, too. The biggest benefits for these companies include being able to get feedback on new products and fix customer complaints before they become major problems.
For daily deal sites like Groupon and Living Social, the viral nature of posts make for a very cost-effective advertising strategy. Positive word of mouth can go a long way and one user's endorsement can lead to a number of subsequent sales.
One of the most surprising industries on this list is education. Social networking sites like Facebook allow students, educators, and institutions to connect with one another in ways that were never possible in the past.
Universities and colleges, in particular, have mastered the use of social media. Many use organic and paid advertising on these sites to bolster application numbers and encourage campus visits. Once on campus, these same universities use social networking sites as platforms for advertising on-going events, new curriculum, and more.
After graduation, social media then becomes a tool for alumni fundraising. In fact, a new study shows that 57 percent of colleges surveyed used social media as a key component of fundraising. "We're seeing a steady growth in the use of social media by practitioners who work in educational advancements, especially fundraising and alumni relations, who see these tools as increasingly important to their work," said William Walker, the interim VP of advancement resources for CASE (the leader of the study).
Whereas many restaurants fail to build, monitor, and maintain functional websites, a large percentage are able to run highly-successful social media profiles. In fact, a recent survey suggests that more than 8 out of 10 restaurant operators either already use social media or plan on using it as a key marketing tool in the next 24 months.
Many of the restaurants using social media are focusing on creating viral campaigns and visually enticing posts. The major benefit for these restaurant operators is that they can quickly build a positive reputation with a large contingency, something that used to take months or years.
Social media is an incredibly valuable asset to the fashion industry because of the lightening-fast speed at which content travels on Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram. New styles can be shared with millions of people in a matter of seconds.
The most successful fashion brands on social media are the ones that have mastered the task of creating visually stimulating images that produce an emotional response in the user. From another point of view, fashion brands find social media to be a very powerful research tool. They use it to find out what styles followers enjoy and what they're wearing.
Don't Ignore Social Media's Power
At this point, it's really quite shocking that any industry ignores social media. As these seven industries show, social media should be a key component of every brand's overall marketing strategy. With the right amount of dedication, attention, and effort, any company can reap the benefits of social media marketing.