Awareness ‘Social Media’ Report Throws Up Some Intriguing Statistics.

Social marketing software company, Awareness, has recently released the final part of its bi-annual State of Social Media Marketing report for 2012.

The survey polled some 469 marketers from across a range of industries and tried to evaluate how businesses are currently using the social media and where it is likely to head in the coming year or so. The State of Social Media report statistics are quite intriguing:

  • 44% of companies with social marketing budgets of $100,000 or more are using social customer relationship management (CRM) software, compared to 16% of smaller companies.
  • 68% of businesses want to expand their social footprint over the course of the next 12 months.
  • 50% recognise the growing need for closer integration of social and more traditional marketing.
  • Social marketing return on investment, a greater social presence and reach and increased content creation and publishing are three significant areas that marketing executives are expecting to concentrate on in 2013.

The most interesting point to come out of the survey is that social is no longer seen as an afterthought or an add-on: for most of the businesses surveyed social is now a core strategy which they will continue to invest in and develop.

Still there is still some uncertainty and ambiguity as far as social is concerned.

Although businesses want to build a strong social presence, they also want to be able to see real results that can be actionable and measured. It’s that old chestnut of ROI again. It’s not what you would call a new problem. Many companies have struggled to come up with answers to how you measure the business value of social media objectively. Well, it appears it still remains a fundamental problem two years down the line. 57 percent of the respondents maintained that the principal challenge for social media is still the measurement of ROI.

The good news is, despite the ambiguity, when you look at the top business objectives for social media it’s clear that the customer experience is critically important, with better customer engagement, revenue generation and customer experience polling 78, 51 and 47% respectively. It appears that many of the major brands are finally realising the potential that the social media can offer consumers, so it is becoming much more important that they improve and tailor the social experience to satisfy the expectations of the customer and keep them brand-loyal.

Social media and the future.

The report clearly highlights that most businesses still face some major challenges in the adoption of social media, regardless of their size or their level of resources. Some are struggling to keep track of the multiple social channels they market on, others struggle to find the right tools to use the medium effectively, whilst a substantial proportion of companies find it difficult to delegate and find the right people to turn social media ratings into actual business results. The issue of customer relationship management continues to be a problem also: this is surprising given that without a CRM platform in place it is potentially difficult to measure activity, results and the customer experience. Yet only 16% of businesses currently use a social CRM system. Although 21% stated that they are planning to use one in the coming months, 17% didn’t know what a social CRM system was and had no understanding of why businesses might need it.

If there’s good news, it’s this: many companies are now in a much better position to identify where they are going wrong and are looking at ways of improving things.

  • 53% of businesses are now using more than two Facebook accounts, to offer a more targeted experience, (13% have more than five profiles).
  • 45% of businesses have two or more Twitter accounts, with 11 percent having more than five profiles.
  • 80% of marketers are creating teams of up to three people to manage social media.
  • 65% are using community platforms to engage with their customer base, while collaboration platforms like Basecamp and Huddle are expected to be used more in 2013.

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