69.6% of marketers say increased presence across social media platforms is their top area of corporate social media marketing (“social marketing”) investment for this year, ahead of increased frequency of content publishing (58.9%) and more robust social marketing management (49.5%), according to [pdf] a December 2011 Awareness survey. Investments in expanded social reach will be led by self-reported social marketing novices (78%) and dabblers (71%), while experienced social marketers find the category to be somewhat less of a priority, placing it relatively on par with increased frequency of content publishing and more robust monitoring.
3 in 4 Cite Resource Challenges
77% of respondents cite lack of sufficient resources as a social marketing challenge, followed by measuring ROI (58%), managing and growing social presence (42%), and integrating social with lead generation and sales (37%). Roughly one-third of respondents expect that integrating social with the rest of their marketing, monitoring social media, and managing publishing of social content across platforms will be a struggle this year.
These findings mirror results from a CMO Council survey released in December 2011, which found that the leading concerns held by marketers regarding investments in social media initiatives are that they require resource and time requirements and present difficulties quantifying or measuring return or brand impact.
Social Presence Top ROI Metric
Data from Awareness’ “The State of Social Media Marketing” indicates that the leading social marketing metric is social presence (76%), measured by number of followers and fans, followed by website traffic (67%), and social mentions across platforms (53%). A growing number of marketers are also tying social initiatives to lead generation (38%) and sales (26%).
Overall, 52% of the companies surveyed said they measure social marketing ROI, a figure that rises to close to more than 70% among experienced social marketers.
1 in 4 Monitor Brand in Real-Time
23% of respondents say they monitor social media for brand mentions on real-time basis, roughly matched by those who monitor brand mentions a few times a week (22%), but behind the leading frequency, near-time (33%). 22% of marketers say they are not yet monitoring social media for brand mentions, although 14% say they will do so this year. When segmenting the data by marketers’ experience, some differences emerge: close to 80% of social marketing leaders report monitoring in real- or near-time, compared to those with less social marketing experience, who reported doing so on a real- or near-time basis 20% of the time.
- Social media monitoring for industry conversations saw a peak last year, reaching 75% of respondents, with a plurality (33%) saying they conduct industry scans a few times a week.
- Experienced marketers are 3 times as likely as their less-experienced peers to have adopted and used YouTube.
- Social media marketing leaders report the highest level of forum utilization as part of their social media mix, at 68%. 59% of leaders also report using social platforms such as foursquare, compared to 7% of novices and 16% of dabblers.
- Blogs (82%) are seen as the leading resource for social marketing news and best practices, ahead of peers (59%) and industry conferences (43%).
About the Data: The Awareness data is based on a survey of more than 320 marketers from companies with revenues ranging from less than $1 million to over $100 million per year.