Marketers Plan for More Social Media Benefits

    October 19, 2007

It’s always nice to see another bit of research supporting the business use of social media. This one comes from Prospero Technologies, which provides businesses with a social media platform including blogs, widgets, article commenting, ratings and reviews and other tools.

The study of leading brand organizations from a variety of industries revealed general enthusiasm for social media along with a glimpse at how companies are measuring its effectiveness. Nearly 60% of respondents said social media met or exceeded their marketing expectations, leading more than 30% to plan to spend considerably more on these applications next year.

imageROI is a top-of-mind issue for many marketers exploring the use of social media, and 35% of the respondents said their experience was positive while 41% said they didn’t know (which should please those who believe ROI is an irrelevant issue). However, direct sales was not an ROI goal for most marketers; instead, they were seeking engagement with the brand as the most important measure.

Even so, the means by which experience with the brand is measured needs some work. Site visitors, page views, and number of subscribers and community members were the key measures, but where people experience the brand with YouTube videos posted to other people’s sites, widgets on a varity of blogs, and blog posts resulting from blogger outreach efforts (among other content residing on the “edge"), these measures aren’t adequate for assessing the impact of social media efforts.

Still, you gotta love the quote from Prospero co-founder and VP of Technologies Rusty Williams:

The majority of respondents see engagement with their brand as the most important measure of social media success, while more concrete ROI measures such as sales and new business leads carry less weight.

Now that social media have proven their worth, marketers are talking about what’s next. Wisely, they’re focused on integrating community-generated content throughout their online properties.