A Social Marketing Study

I’ve been meaning to write about the Chief Marketer 2012 Social Marketing Study for a little while now.  Even though it came out a couple of months back, what it found is pretty relevant and I think you might find some of those findings relevant to what might be on your marketing mind.  At least I hope so!

As one might infer from the name, the topic is brands’ use of social media for marketing purposes.  You can get the study by clicking this link (registration required) but here are some of the key findings:

  • 76% of overall respondents to the survey said their brands were conducting some level of marketing within social media, and a further 16% reported plans to begin do so by the end of this year, making for a potential social marketing contingent of 92%.
  • More than half of respondents cite the difficulty of calculating an accurate return on their social marketing outlays as a prime frustration with the channels. That difficulty in turn grows out of their second most often expressed complaint in this year’s survey: the difficulty of accurately tracking sales to social campaigns. Those response rates held true for both B2C and B2B marketers.
  • Marketers are also troubled by issues of content: specifically, by the amount of time their staffers spend curating social media and by the need to keep social media supplied with a constant stream of new, fresh, engaging content.

Other not so surprising data points are that the primary purpose marketers have for using social is to drive web traffic and that most of their efforts are on the big three social sites: Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.  What all of this said to me was not so much about how quickly marketers adopted social as a channel but how their efforts are really just sort of fumbling along.  Not every brand should be on Facebook yet all seem to be.  While I’m a firm believer in having measurable outcomes to help with ROI calculations, it seems from the study as if the standard to which social investments as being held are out of whack with both how social is being deployed as well as with the standards applied to other channels.  Finally, the emphasis on creating new content is a good one but it sounds to me as if that content is being used in the context of social media as a megaphone – yet another broadcast medium.  I could not disagree more with that approach.

Does your company use social media for marketing?  Are the study’s findings in line with your experience?  Am I missing anything?

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