Market Snapshot

No Passing Fad: More Than Two-Thirds of the Industry Using Social Media

social media
Social media use in the specialty-equipment is growing; 68% of companies surveyed by SEMA use Facebook, Twitter and similar sites in their marketing efforts.

Still think social media is a kid's game, not something you—let alone your business—need to take serious? Might want to think again. Your competitors are.

A SEMA study of social-media use among the specialty-equipment industry shows that 68% of companies surveyed use some form of social media in their marketing efforts. Not surprisingly, Facebook is the killer app for most of these efforts, with a full 97% of companies saying they use it.

Other important channels include YouTube (68%), automotive forums (65%) and Twitter (61%). MySpace, however, appears to be losing the dominance it once enjoyed, with only 37% of companies using it.

When asked to list the top five channels for marketing resources, 51% listed social media among their top five mediums, along with trade shows (51%) and e-mail marketing (49%). Website marketing is still strongest, however, at 86%.

The key reason most industry companies use social media? Increasing web traffic is most important (82%), with staying connected with customers a close second (80%). Distributing company and product news is also key (72%), almost equal to the goal of using it to increase sales (71%).

Measuring ROI on social media efforts and making sense of the connections is more difficult business, however. About 45% of specialty-equipment companies surveyed measure ROI on their soc-media efforts, the most common reasons that they don't measure ROI are that they “don’t see value” (38%) or “don't know where to start.”

This is about on par with other industries. A 2010 Marketing Sherpa social media benchmark report shows that 44% of companies in other industries take advantage of free measuring tools such as Google Analytics and Social Mention.

The digital marketing trend shows no signs of abating, however, as 74% of those surveyed expect to shift some marketing resources from traditional to digital media this year (nearly half expecting to shift “a lot” of resources to digital).

Still, some aren’t buying into the phenomenon; 17% have blocked social media websites from their workplace.

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