Winners and losers announced in new state of social report

Social is now firmly front and center of most internet-savvy businesses, according to a new report from Spredfast. But which brands are winning the social conversation challenge?

Austin, TX-based social marketing company Spredfast has released its latest Smart Social report, showcasing the brands winning and losing on social.

The report looked at 50 brands across 10 industries, and it looked at maturity across eight social networks: LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, Instagram, and Snapchat.

It also looked at audience size, consistency or response, and use of rich media in social interactions.

The report analyzed how social conversations impact Hollywood blockbusters, as well as how top online publishers repost content, which Facebook Reaction hits the top spot for users, and which brands are benefiting most from their social activities.

The media industry, while not as prominent as the sports industry in the survey, had high marks overall. It is one of the fastest-rising industries on LinkedIn, while MTV came out as one of the top three Tumblr brands in the study. It had the most engagement per post compared with other brands.

Sites with a high-visual element -- such as Tumblr, Pinterest, Instagram Facebook, and Snapchat -- experienced the best engagement from sports, media, retail, and auto industries, with the sports industry dominating.

LinkedIn was used most effectively by the travel industry, which used the platform better than all other brands.

The financial services industry did not fare well across all social channels. Citibank, however, was the top financial services institution in the study, helped by a 52-percent increase in engagement on the network.

BT had the best Twitter engagement from its audience of any brand in the study, with a series of contests, product spotlights, and upcoming television shows that resonated with its audience.

AT&T's performance on YouTube increased relative to its telecom peers. This was based on a 100 percent-increase in views per day and the addition of over 10 million total views to its channel throughout the quarter.

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On Facebook, the 'Like' is still the preferred method for users to interact with content. Reactions are new, so behavior takes time to change.

Facebook's user interface means that 'liking' a post is the first and easiest choice to show support for a piece of content, whereas selecting the other reactions takes more time and effort for the user.

Reactions show a natural inclination for users to select expressions closer to the happy options on the left-hand side compared with traveling all the way over to the right.

Angry and Sad are the least-used Reactions due to a mixture of their meaning and their place in the user interface, while Love is the dominant reaction.

Movies were tracked on Twitter for 10 weeks before and after they released. The engagement level for the latest Star Wars film was huge. There was 389 percent more conversation than for the next most-talked about movie: Minions.

The survey also found that half of all audience conversation about a movie takes place during the three weeks after its release. And for every tweet about an original film, there are 5.4 about a franchise film.

Publishing content showed some interesting statistics: 94 percent of all tweets contained a link, and 33 percent of all links were posted more than once. Publishers in the study -- including Buzzfeed, The New York Times, Huffington Post, and Hollywood Life -- sometimes posted the same piece of content dozens of times.

Huffington Post linked directly to their home page 172 times over the course of the study, highlighting the main story on their homepage. Content that was re-messaged -- instead of going out with exactly the same content -- performed 15 percent better than content that used only one set of copy.

The survey showed that messaging worked the best when content that had already performed well was re-broadcast, giving people who might have been too busy the first time around a second chance.

That's something to think about before throwing even more marketing budget on a campaign that might not have performed well the first time.

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