Social Media continues to grow. The recent McKinsey report, “The Social Economy: Unlocking Value and Productivity through Social Technologies,” reports that there are 1.5 billion members of social communities globally and 80% interact regularly with social networks. The found that one in five hours spent online is now spent on social networks, increasingly on mobile devices. McKinsey also projects huge opportunities for wealth creation through social media, many of them are marketing oriented. However, they also note that companies are just beginning to tap its potential.
Awareness recently released a report, The State Of Social Marketing Report: 7 Major Findings & In-Depth Analysis. To complete this effort they surveyed 469 marketers from wide varieties of industries, company sizes and levels of social marketing expertise. These respondents included a cross-section of executives, managers and those who support the social marketing functions within their organizations.
The seven major findings are as follows:
- Misalignment between business objectives, measurement methodologies and social marketing investment
- Tighter integration between social and rest of marketing and business overall
- Social marketers are starting to measure what matters
- Marketers are yet to tap into the true potential of social
- Social marketing budgets and resources insufficient to drive value
- The big 3 social platforms, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, still dominate
- Limited outsourcing
You might say this represents the good, the bad, and the ugly of social media marketing. The ugly is certainly the first one. As I mentioned in another Awareness report, How to Kick-Start Your Content Marketing - A Seven-Step Approach to Delivering Success, - You need to start with defining your business objectives and build your program and metrics around those goals. If you are not measuring against business goals, the whole effort is meaningless.”
Coming in the bad category are insufficient budgets and the inability to tap into social’s true potential – which I would add is the product of the tow prior findings. The good results include the tighter integration between social media marketing and the rest of the business and the measurement of what matters. Although I am not sure how they know what matters if companies do not create between business objectives, measurement methodologies and social marketing investment.
The top business objectives for social media include: Better customer engagement tops the business objective charts (78%), revenue generation i(51%), better customer experience follows (47%), and increased thought leadership (41%). Unfortunately, only 47% measure success today but 38% more plan to measure by the end of the year. At the same time ROI is listed as the top challenge with 57% indicating this is an issue.
On the plus side, an increased presence across all social media platforms was reported by 66%. Increased frequency of content publishing was reported by 56% and better social marketing integration with other marketing initiatives was reported by 50%. This is all heading in the right direction.
The report goes into good detail on each of the findings with many more quantified results. They conclude that companies are continuing to piece together paid and free tools to measure their impact. This results in a lack of integration that likely affects their ability to measure ROI. They expect an increase in social CRM adoption to tie social metrics with traditional ones to drive business value. I am not sure that social CRM is the only answer but I do see a need to better align social metrics with traditional business ones. I recommend looking at the free report to see more quantified results in a fast growing field where, for some, it is ready fire, aim.