Warc's most-read articles about social media this year covered two broad themes – how to make the most effective business use of the new technology as well as advice about user profiles, so making it easier to encourage sharing on the web more like sharing in real life.

The Seriously Social Warc Trends Report also received by far the most views in this category – and was also Warc's most-read paper of the year on any subject.

Based on approximately 800 recent case studies that contained a social media element, the report identified effectiveness trends and included quantitative analysis of patterns in media channel selection, duration and campaign budgets as well as noting the biggest sector and brand users of social media.

Coming second was another piece of research that focused on the commercial opportunities afforded by these rapid developments. In The business return from social media, Erica Buckley of Edelman Digital argued that marketers need to define their business objectives with appropriate metrics to measure results against those objectives if they want to maximise business value from social media.

Turning to how consumers make use of their social media networks, the third most popular Warc paper on social media of 2013 looked at the role of social influencers. Understanding social influence online urged brands to consider putting higher value on 'quality' content targeted at specific groups because only a third of users are prepared to 'sometimes' make recommendations and are reluctant to over-share their posts.

Similarly, at fourth, a study of Facebook fans examined the attitudes of the third of social media users who 'follow' brands and noted that, as the majority of these people follow fewer than ten brands, it is important to deliver tangible benefits to retain their interest.

The fifth most-read article featured Laura Balkovich, Google's head of social for Asia Pacific, who argued that brands must now include social media in all their marketing, connect with communities based around shared interests and seek to engage what she termed 'super fans'.

For more details about the most read papers on Warc in 2013, visit our Most Read page.

Data sourced from Warc