By Rieva Lesonsky
Social media is continuing to grow in importance in businesses’ marketing campaigns, reports the 2011 Chief Marketer Social Marketing Survey. Nearly three-fourths (73 percent) of respondents say their companies now use social media in their marketing campaigns, up from 64 percent who said so last year. The trend is growing, with 15 percent planning to launch social initiatives in the coming year—so that in a year’s time, only 10 percent will not be using social media.
A slightly higher proportion of B-to-C companies than B-to-B companies use social media (78 percent vs. 68 percent).
Why are companies going social? Kind of like bank robbers who rob the bank because that’s where the money is, 60 percent of marketers say they use social media because that’s where their customers are. Nearly as many (59 percent) said it’s because of social media’s viral effect; 46 percent said it’s because social media is cost effective and 46 percent said customers expect them to use social media.
Overall, Facebook is the most-used social media marketing channel, used by 91 percent of respondents. However, Twitter has surged in the past year and is now used by 77 percent of marketers, up from the 50 percent who reported using it in last year’s survey. Some 68 percent use LinkedIn and 61 percent use YouTube.
After that, the percentages dropped precipitously, with just 15 percent of respondents using location-based or geo-social services such as Foursquare and Gowalla, and 13 percent using social bookmarking platforms such as Digg. B-to-B were somewhat more likely to use Twitter (81 percent) and slightly less likely to use YouTube (59 percent).
What are marketers hoping to do via social media? Getting followers is no longer the top aim. Instead, the number one goal is driving traffic to the company website (66 percent) while 48 percent of marketers want to generate leads or sales. This suggests that softer measures of successful social marketing are giving way to ones with greater ROI.
But marketers are having trouble measuring that ROI – in fact, only 13 percent say they’re very effective at measuring the success of their social media campaigns, and 40 percent admit they are not effective at doing so. The struggle to measure ROI was the top pain point cited by marketers in the study.
Image by Flickr user Terry Chay (Creative Commons)Google+