Six headlines from Buffer’s 2018 State of Social survey

Estimated read time: 6 minutes

This morning saw the publication of Buffer’s State of Social 2018 survey results, a huge piece of work that saw 1,796 marketers share their thoughts on social media marketing.

It goes without saying that the whole report is well worth you making a brew, finding somewhere quiet and reading through in full. But, just to tide you over until you have time to do that, here a few take aways we’ve spotted already.

Half of us don’t have a documented social media strategy


This is really surprising. And worrying.

If you don’t have a documented strategy, then how do you know where you’re going? And how will you know when you’ve got there?

It’s time to messaging apps seriously

This was something that, once you scratched the surface, came through in our series of social media panels last week; the power of messaging apps.

According to Buffer’s survey, more people now use the top four social messaging apps (WhatsApp, Messenger, WeChat, and Viber) than the top four social media apps (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn). 

But here’s the interesting part; only 20 percent of marketers have used messaging apps.

By not getting involved in these spaces, not only are you likely ignoring a large part of your audience, you’re missing out on a great opportunity to interact with them.

If ever there was a time to take the messaging space seriously and come up with a strategy for it, it is surely now.

We’re all still on Facebook

Again, matching with what we found last week…Facebook is definitely not dead – even if Buffer’s survey showed more than half of participants agreed or strongly agreed that its reach was in decline.

At least, not among marketers!

96% of those surveyed said their business was on Facebook. 89% are on Twitter too.

Of course, this was before the announcement of changes to Facebook’s newsfeed, that will see pages’ reach dip even further. It will be fascinating to see how many marketers are still on Facebook thistle next year.

Probably still almost all of them, but, you know, it might change!

Opinions on the effectiveness of social advertising depend on whether or not you’ve tried it

Cast your mind back to when you were young and faced with a food you’d never tried before and were, perhaps, wary of. The dinner table conversation might have gone something like this (it definitely did in my house):

Child: No thanks, I don’t like olives* (*or whatever strange new food is on offer)

Parent: How do you know? You’ve never tried them

Child: *tries an olive, loves it, proceeds to eat the lot*

It appears to the be the same with social media advertising and deciding whether or not it is effective. Businesses that have invested in social advertising are more than twice as likely to big up ads and sing their praises.

Have you tried advertising on social media yet? Why not give it a try – you might like it!

(Especially as 67% of those surveyed here are planning to spend more money on it this year any way).

Video is still grabbing all the attention

You probably don’t need a big survey to tell you this, but video is still top of everyone’s list of wants and needs. 85% of those surveyed reckon they’ll create even more in 2018.

All I will ask for when it comes to video is to make good video that is tailored to whatever platform you’re sharing on. That means square crop, captions, short durations and the ability to make sense without sound for Facebook and Instagram. That means longer, more cinematic, 16:9 crops for YouTube.

And, wherever you’re posting video, that means making content that people want to watch. Don’t just do video for the sake of ticking off the ‘video’ box on your to-do list!

According to this survey, it also appears that lack of time is what holds most marketers back from creating more video. Bear this in mind if you’re planning to make more video yourself. Have you got the time to do it?

Audio continues to be niche

Yes, yes. I AM more than a bit obsessed with audio – by the way, have you checked out our new podcast yet? You should, it’s really cool.

But, 20% of those surveyed said their business plans to create more audio in 2018. I’m excited about this – it’s a low-cost medium with potentially huge impact and reach.

In some ways it’s good that audio is still a bit of special club. That means you’ve still got chance to give it a try and get it right before it goes mega.

And it will go mega soon. I’m certain of it.

Don’t forget, make sure you check out Buffer’s State of Social 2018 report for yourself!