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Social Media Investment Expected to Soar

Social Media Investment Expected to Soar

It seems that social media spend is sure to keep growing but businesses may not be sure what their cash is buying them, according to new research from Econsultancy’s Social Media Survey 2010.

The survey found that 83 per cent of businesses questioned expected their investments in social media to increase over the next year. However, it also found that 76 per cent of companies don’t have a return on investment (ROI) figure for the majority of their social media spend and 30 per cent said that a lack of budget was a significant issue.

The figures seem to suggest that many businesses know social media is important to them, but haven’t quite grasped how to measure its importance or the best way to fully integrate it into their existing channels.
Social media investment expected to soar
See a larger version of State of Social Infographic 2010.

The results of the second annual Social Media and Online PR Report indicate that businesses have been actively engaging with the challenges of social media and searching for ways to make it work for them. For example, the survey found 29 per cent to be employing Facebook as a way of addressing customer service issues.

Econsultancy Research Director Linus Gregoriadis said: “2010 has been a year in which companies have tried to become more focused in their social media marketing activity. Much of their activity is concentrated on the use of Twitter and Facebook, with the vast majority of companies (83 per cent and 80 per cent of respondents respectively) using these sites as part of their social media strategy”.
Also interesting is the news that 24 per cent of companies have jumped on the smart phone wagon and are employing mobile apps. With the recent boom in iPad and tablet users keeping the web ever-more-mobile, apps certainly seem a popular way to go at the moment.
On the downside, only 7 per cent of businesses surveyed said they were integrating their social media channel with their TV advertising, and traditional media relations were found to be down by 5 per cent. What’s more, 28 per cent of businesses said they currently weren’t spending any money on social media services. Judging by the expectations of most businesses questioned, however, it doesn’t seem likely this will stay the case for long.

Econsultancy’s Social Media and Online PR Report , produced in association with bigmouthmedia, is the most comprehensive study of its kind around the strategies, tactics and websites companies are using to harness social media for marketing, sales, customer service and other business objectives.

The Social Media and Online PR report surveyed in August and September, 2010, 800 business owners and Agencies. Respondents included client-side digital marketers and communications professionals, as well as digital and PR agencies.

Although, the data is skewed towards the UK (just 8% of respondents were from North America), there are still some interesting findings for small business owners.

For example, according to the 82-page report, 95% of companies have added social media to their mix; however, 45% have either experimented or have done nothing at all with social media. So they added it, but then ignored it! Another 45% say they haven’t taken any steps to implement internal policies or guidelines for the use of social media. Again, it’s just sitting there.

Of those companies that do actually use social media:

  • 83%  use Twitter

  • 80%  use  Facebook

  • 58%  use  YouTube

  • 51%  use LinkedIn 

1. While 95% of companies have added social media to their marketing mix, 45% have either only experimented or not done anything in social media. Really? Do these companies also turn away 45% of all customers? They may as well

2. If you think that’s hard to believe, take a look at this chart! With the exception of corporate blogs,there’s a decline in the use of every social media tactic under the sun! Maybe if these companies focused on more than experimenting with social media they’d find that it offers a long-term benefit to their business. Perhaps they focused too much on the immediate ROI and, when that instant gratification failed to materialize, became disillusioned.

3. And what about their PR campaigns? I am astounded that there has been a decline in the proportion of PR activity taking place online! What, was it too difficult to figure out? Was it just too hard to actually interact with journalists, bloggers, and other influentials? Was it easier to go back to blasting out press releases? Does someone need a hug?

Here, with the exception of corporate blogging, there had been a decline in every social media tactic from creation of podcasts to video to the use of social bookmarking sites. Part of me can’t help but wonder if this is at all tied to the fact that these companies admitted they had barely experimented with any of the tactics they were trying. It’s logical that if you haven’t created a plan for using social media, you won’t see much benefit from it and will decide to drop it altogether. It appears that’s what’s happening here. Continue reading Marketing Pilgrim’s take

Other findings include:

  • Twitter, Facebook and YouTube are the most widely used external websites/services.

  • When asked how organisations are using Facebook, more than two thirds of companies (67%) are using Facebook as a marketing channel.

  • Around a quarter of company respondents (26%) said their most senior managers were very interested indeed in social media, compared to 19% who said there was very little interest.

  • Social network profile creation and management is still the most widely used social media tactic, although the proportion of companies who do this has decreased from 65% last year to 56% this year.

  • Direct traffic (72%) is still regarded as the most important metric for assessing social media activity. Almost three-quarters of respondents say this is one of the three most important metrics they use.

  • 45% of responding companies don’t have any policies or guidelines for the use of social media.

The research is useful for those who want to get an overview of what businesses are doing with social media and enables companies to benchmark themselves in terms of budgets, resourcing, metrics and barriers to success … plus much more.

 

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