Michael Stelzner and his team at Social Media Examiner have released the 2013 Social Media Marketing Industry Report. It’s packed with interesting insights and tips based on interviews with over 3,000 marketing professionals from around the globe.

If you get a chance, you’ll want to download the report for yourself. But here are several of the top findings that we thought you might find helpful.

1. Marketers place higher value on social media in 2013

86% of marketers stated social media was important to their business, up three percent from last year. 97% use social media to grow their sales and revenues, up from 94% last year.

2. Marketers agree: Facebook marketing is effective

92% of marketers place a high value on Facebook marketing. Twitter comes in second at 83%.

Large businesses with over 1000 employees are also more likely to state that their Facebook marketing is effective (46%) vs. the self-employed (29%).

3. Time spent on social media

62% of marketers use social media for 6 hours of more every week, up from 59% in 2012.

Age also plays a great deal in the use of social media marketing. The younger the marketer, the more he or she spends on social media — of those spending more than 40 hours per week doing social media marketing, 63% are under the age of 40.

4. Top two benefits of social media marketing: increase in exposure and increase in traffic

While most marketers are using social media to gain marketplace insight (69%) and develop loyal fans (65%), those benefits don’t rank as highly as increased exposure (89%) and increased traffic (75%). All nine benefits included in the chart have increased since 2012.

5. Most commonly used social media platforms

The top six have virtually stayed the same since 2012, but social bookmarking sites such as StumbleUpon have declined drastically with a 16% drop in use over the span of two short years. The same goes for forums and geo-location services like Foursquare.

Based on years of experience in social media, the most commonly used platforms remain largely the same with Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn being the three top used platforms, respectively. Once two to three years of experience has been established, YouTube passes Blogging as the fourth most common social media platform used.

6. Blogging considered one of the most important social media platforms for experienced marketers

Facebook remains as the most important platform among marketers with nearly half of the votes (46%) with LinkedIn (16%) and blogging(14%) as second and third. However, among marketers with three or more years of experience, blogging surpasses LinkedIn to 17%, becoming the runner-up most important social platform among marketers.

7. Marketers invest for improvement, YouTube remains top priority

The top five areas that marketers will focus on include YouTube (69%), Facebook (66%), blogging (66%), LinkedIn (65%), and Twitter (64%). It is important to recognize that younger marketers are far more likely to utilize photo sharing sites such as Instagram, with 48% of 20-to 29-year-olds using them versus no more than 33% among those over the age of 40.

Podcasting activity will also see a huge increase in usage this year. 5% of marketers are currently involved in podcasting. That will jump to 24% in the next year. This increase can mostly be seen in marketers with five or more years of experience with 31% of those marketers wishing to increase podcast activities.

8. Top areas that marketing wish to know more about: blogging takes the lead

Blogging leads the pack in terms of tools that marketers want to know more about.

9. Social media outsourcing, not so much

A majority of those surveyed (74%) say they do not outsource any of their social media marketing efforts. Among those who do outsource to third parties, the top three areas are design and development, content creation and analytics.

10. Email marketing leads the “other forms of marketing” in 2013

Email marketing, search engine optimization (SEO) and event marketing are the top three most important forms of marketing for those surveyed (outside of social media, of course). These are the same three that lead this category in 2012 and 2011.

It should be noted that more experienced marketers were far more likely to participate in mobile marketing, which is an indication of the growing importance of mobile marketing.

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