If you're not using social media software, don't worry about it! It's not a big deal...unless you enjoy getting a return on your investment, that is.

Firebrand Group just released The Future of Social in partnership with Social Fresh, the leading social media conference company, and Simply Measured, the most complete social analytics solution. One of our most interesting findings was that social media software is highly correlated with positive ROI from social media efforts.

Social Fresh's The Future of Social, in collaboration with Firebrand Group and Simply Measured, reveals the state of social media in 2016 as well as bold predictions for the future.

19 out of 20 of social media software users report positive ROI from social media. However, just 50% of those not identifying as using social media software report a positive ROI. That was just one of many findings from Social Fresh's The Future of Social Marketing Report, which surveyed 551 digital marketers in March 2016. Simply Measured.

"Social media software has reached a maturity that positively augments the efficiency and real return for digital marketers," says Jason Keath, Social Fresh's founder. "Software is no magic bullet, but there is a clear connection between software users and a better understanding of social media fundamentals."

Some of our report's other key findings:

  • Awareness is the top social media goal among digital marketers, with 76% reporting it as one of their top 2 goals
  • Despite far more respondents reporting Twitter as a superior social network for results vs. Instagram (63.5% to 40.1%) currently, there is more interest in spending money on Instagram than on Twitter in the next year.
  • 45% of digital marketers plan to hire more social media personnel this year, which may prove difficult, as 80% say it is difficult to find qualified social marketing candidates.

As a jaded marketer, I often question the ability to learn anything new from reports like this--but working in concert with some quality partners made all the difference. Simply Measured, for example, empowers marketers with unmatched access to their social data to more clearly define their social strategy and optimize their tactics for maximum impact. Social Fresh, on the other hand is a social media training and education company comprised of a community of industry leaders, disruptors, and strategists, and provides actionable marketing resources to help businesses drive ROI.

The newly-released report includes commentary from IBM, Microsoft, Anheuser-Busch InBev, Amazon, and many others, with most of the analysis done by Keath and yours truly.

Since Firebrand Group is all about futureproofing other organizations by keeping an eye on marketing & communications trends, we have definitive viewpoints about the future of social media. Given that, it's still important that we hear from marketers in the trenches, especially decision makers on the brand-side. From learning how many marketers are outsourcing their social media advertising or how many brands see a positive ROI from Snapchat, it's critical that we hear from senior practitioners and present findings that are truly actionable."

To access the free synopsis report (there's also a far more thorough detailed paid report), simply visit http://socialfresh.com/future.