The top two benefits of social media marketing are increasing exposure and increasing traffic. A significant 88% of all marketers indicated that their social media efforts have generated more exposure for their businesses. Increasing traffic was the second major benefit, with 78% reporting positive results.

Most marketers are using social media to develop loyal fans (69%) and gain marketplace intelligence (66%).

The order of the benefits hasn't changed since 2015, and for the most part, the percentages have only changed 1 or 2 points.

Some questions that naturally emerge might include: "Can I achieve more benefits by investing more time in social media?", "Are marketers who've
been using social media for years gaining even better results?", and "Is there a difference between B2B and B2C?"

1 Improved sales
It takes time to develop relationships that lead to sales. However, a large percentage of marketers who take the time find great results.

For example, more than half of marketers who've been using social media for more than 2 years report it helped them improve sales. More than half who spend 6 or more hours per week find the same results and 74% of those who spend 40+ hours per week earn new business through their efforts.

Conversely, 48% of all marketers taking this survey report that social media has not helped them improve sales. This may be because they lack the needed tools to track sales.

2 Increased exposure
With as little as 6 hours per week, the vast majority of marketers (91%+) indicated their social media efforts increased exposure for their businesses.
Nearly all marketers (88%+) who've been employing social media marketing for 1 year or longer report it generates exposure for their businesses.

3 Grew business partnerships
The more time marketers invest in social media, the more they gain business partnerships. More than half of marketers who've invested at least 2 years in social media marketing report that they gained new partnerships.

More than half of those investing as little as 6 hours per week in social media were able to build new partnerships.

4 Generated leads
By spending as little as 6 hours per week, 69%+ of marketers see lead generation benefits with social media.

More than half of marketers with at least 1 year of social media experience were generating leads with social platforms.

5 Increased traffic
A significant 81%+ of participants found that traffic increased with as little as 6 hours per week invested in social media marketing.

And those who've used social media for 1 year or more reported substantially better results (76%+ reported benefits), compared with those with less experience.

6 Provided marketplace insight
Of those with at least 1 year of experience, 61% or more found social platforms provided marketplace insight.

At least 68% of those spending at least 6 hours per week were more likely to gain marketplace insight.

7 Developed loyal fans
Of those who have been using social media for at least 1 year, 67% found it useful for building a loyal fan base.

Time invested makes a difference. Of those spending at least 6 hours per week, 71% found benefit, compared to 56% of those spending 5 hours or fewer per week.
B2C marketers (72%) were much more likely to develop a loyal fan base through social media than B2B marketers (64%).

8 Increased thought leadership
More than half of marketers who have been using social media for 1 or more years (51%+) have been able to increase thought leadership.

Most marketers (57%+) gained thought leadership with at least 6 hours per week invested.

B2B marketers were more likely (64%) to use social media to gain thought leadership than B2C marketers (54%).

Source: 2017 Social Media Marketing Industry Report