With so much talk about creating a social media strategy in order to avoid the dangers of social media, it might be surprising to learn that the majority of marketers today report already having a social media strategy in place. And 80 percent of those who don't have a strategy nailed down say they will have one in the next three months. The findings come from a recent report by King Fish Media titled, "Social Media Usage, Attitudes and Measurability: What Do Marketers Think?," sponsored by HubSpot and Junta42.
King Fish Media surveyed 457 corporate leaders and sales and marketing people and found that 72 percent of respondents have a social media strategy in place. Out of the survey, most (70 percent) say that social media is the marketing department's baby, with only a slim margin admitting to outsourcing social media projects to freelancers or creative agencies. Not surprisingly, the future for social media projects looks bright. Three out of four survey respondents say their organization plans to increase investment in social media in the next year.
The report dives into specific social media channels to show where marketers spend most of their time. Most respondents are devoting time to LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. MySpace rests at the bottom of the list, with few saying they will invest in the site in the future.
Here's the breakdown of usage and future plans:
- 87 percent currently use;
- 12 percent plan to use.
- 84 percent currently use;
- 16 percent plan to use.
- 78 percent currently use;
- 22 percent plan to use.
- 65 percent currently use;
- 37 percent plan to use.
- 47 percent currently use;
- 53 percent plan to use.
News aggregate sites
- 36 percent currently use;
- 48 percent plan to use.
- 34 percent currently use;
- 43 percent plan to use.
- 9 percent currently use;
- 9 percent plan to use.
The report notes that YouTube is the biggest growth area for companies. For those currently using video, they report that most are using video on corporate and third party sites for educational purposes. Beagle Research Principal Denis Pombriant has spoken and written at length the impact that he believes video will have on the future. He wrote in a blogpost, "Condensing ideas from a document or slide presentation into short, snappy video that customers can access from their desktops may be the most important growth area in the front office."
As often debated at conferences and within most discussions involving social media, the report addresses the ROI of social media campaigns. Nearly half of survey participants attest to measuring the ROI of social media campaigns. Out of that half, two thirds say that their campaigns performed as or as or better than expected. Out of the metrics used, the majority of respondents say they measure the number of visitors and page views, the number of fans or followers, and the traffic generated to the company's corporate site from social media. Often companies will measure search engine rank changes and new methods of search and discovery with respect to social media presence. Most respondents also say they measure leads generated and the number of comments and mentions garnered on social media channels.
Despite the climb in social media efforts, less than a third has advertised on social media sites. In terms of qualitative metrics, companies report tracking dialogues with customers, and how that affected relationships. The majority of respondents also claim to track their corporate or brand reputations. The King Fish Media authors write, "Content is seen as the most important asset for a successful social media campaign."
Gordon Plutsky, Director of Marketing and Research, King Fish Media further addresses the topic in a statement, "Content is the key to creating an emotional connection. Social media has clearly emerged as a dynamic vehicle for delivering it to the right people in their preferred format."
Of course objectives vary from company to company, but the report lists the top benefits respondents say they hope to gain from their social media strategies. The top benefits are customer-facing, with top objectives also involving sales.
Based on the survey, here are the top six goals with social media marketing:
- Establishing a close relationship with customers or prospects;
- Identifying new customers and prospects;
- Developing an audience for a company's content;
- Lead generation;
- Increasing the sales of existing products; and
- Increasing in customer retention.
A low 29 percent of respondents say they need to show positive return to secure a budget for social media projects, further demonstrating the newness of social media and the vast opportunity for an organization to get its feet wet in social.