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Spredfast on the state of social

Social Media Management vendor Spredfast this week released the third volume in its series, “The Smart Social Report.” Topics covered in this release include the use of video and gender patterns in social, as well as a review of the social progress of 50 brands across 10 industries and eight social channels, taking account of indicators like audience size, frequency of use, and engagement. 

The main takeaway is that different social channels proved most effective for different industries. Retail thrived on YouTube, sports on Facebook and Snapchat, and financial services–perhaps surprisingly–on Pinterest and Google+. It also seems that the most successful social brands are way ahead of their competition. As the report says, “the gap is widening.” One example, IBM, with YouTube views an astonishing 400 percent ahead of the B2B average.

Within verticals, brands performed much better on some channels than others. In media, MTV was a highly effective user of YouTube and Twitter.  ESPN, rated a low Twitter performer, excelled on Instagram and Snapchat. Netflix stood out across almost the full range of channels, but flopped on Pinterest.

Similarly, in electronics and tech,  Microsoft was very strong on YouTube, but a negligible presence elsewhere.  Sony flunked YouTube altogether, but was a moderately strong presence elsewhere, excelling on Google+. Scores are surprisingly low across the board in verticals where one might expect social engagement to be an important focus, including travel and hospitality, and consumer packaged goods.

One unanswered question is whether these highly differentiated results reflect brands’ considered focus on preferred channels, or reveal a scattershot approach.

Reviewing social success in video for selected brands, Spredfast found that quantity of published content did not necessarily correlate with quantity of engagement. Brands which dramatically increased the quantity of video content posted saw some rise in engagement, but not a proportional rise–suggesting, of course, that content relevance and quality are factors in boosting success.

Patterns of gender-driven behavior were analysed by looking at the sharing of images on Twitter. Where images featured humans, men and women differed dramatically in their likelihood to share images featuring men (men 50 percent, women 5 percent), and women were willing to share a more diverse variety of images than men. Women were also somewhat less likely to share images of products than men.

The report also features an in-depth look at the NFL’s social success, and a section on social media planning within businesses.  Spredfast’s take on the report’s findings is here.

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