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Most Businesses Still Only “Experiment” with Social Media

Companies Struggle with Social Media ROI, Plan to Increase Efforts

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Social media use among businesses has grown significantly over the past year or two, but new research from E-Consultancy, in association with the Online Marketing Summit (where WebProNews is conducting exclusive interviews this week), indicates that most businesses are largely still in the experimental stage when it comes to their efforts.

There are a great deal of interesting stats to pick through in the report, but to me, one of the most striking is that 61% (nearly 2/3) say they have experimented with social media, but not done that much. Various stats suggest businesses are starting to get to the place where they view social media as crucial, however. For example, the vast majority (90%) say they expect social media to take up more time internally "in a year’s time," while only 8% expect it will take up the same amount of time, and 2% expect less time to be spent on social media next year.

Most Businesses Are still only experimenting with Social Media according to new research from E-Consultancy, in association with the Online Marketing Summit

Some other highlights from the report:

- The majority of companies have difficulty measuring the return on investment (ROI) from social media. Almost two-thirds of respondents (61%) say their organizations are “poor” (34%) or “very poor” (27%) at measuring ROI.

- Increased traffic to Web site is the business goal that marketers are most likely to be trying to influence through social media marketing. Three quarters (74%) of companies say they use social media to increase traffic.

- Direct traffic to Web site is by far the metric most commonly used to measure the impact of off-site social media, measured by just under two-thirds of company respondents (63%).

- More brand recognition (64%) is the second most important business objective in terms of impact of social media. A similar proportion of respondents (62%) cite better brand reputation.

- Despite the widespread recognition that social media marketing impacts brand reputation and brand visibility, only a quarter of all respondents (25%) surveyed use online brand mentions and brand awareness as a metric for measuring off-site social media success. Just 15% use brand perception as a metric.

- Just over half of companies (56%) say that they try to achieve increased sales through social media activity. But only a quarter of companies (24%) use sales as a metric for measuring social media success.

Facebook is the Web property mostly commonly used in social media, with 85% of companies surveyed using it as part of their marketing strategy. This is followed by Twitter (perhaps more closely than expected, given Facebook’s much larger user base) at 77%, LinkedIn at 58% and YouTube at 49%.

Over two-thirds of company respondents say that the amount of money spent on social media has increased since last year, while 30% say it has stayed the same, and 81% of companies expect social media budgets to increase over the next year, while 18% expect spending to stay the same. So while companies are still experimenting, they must be generally seeing good enough results to keep at it, or see the potential to use it on an expanded basis.

Do you have a concrete social media strategy or do you simply experiment? Discuss.

Most Businesses Still Only “Experiment” with Social Media
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  • http://blogswithwings.com Blog Angel a.k.a. Joella

    I know it’s good for my blog, but there are so many ways to implement social media practices. I don’t know what to use or how to use it most effectively for my blog. But I continue to muddle through and try out my options. Maybe I’ll find a magic formula, eh?

  • http://www.hangar17.com Open Source developmenet web agency

    Good post. I had facebook and twitter for my business and my clients. yes it drives traffic. But i need to get more from some other experts here..could any one guide me?

  • http://www.happyendingonline.com Adult Toys For Less

    We are in the same boat. It is pretty complicated to try to maintain a presence in the vast amount of social sites that exist today. We basically use just the major ones at this point but know that we are missing hte boat in others.

  • http://www.thecaws.net Joe C

    As Joella said in an earlier comment I think the challenge for many is what social media channels to use to achieve the right goal… i posted about this on my blog a day or so ago: http://bit.ly/aSrpYI

  • http://www.controldatainc.com agency collection

    I personally feel social media is less important compared to a few years ago. So many people are using it for advertising their website. I see so much junk on it that I just dont have the time to keep using it.

  • http://www.pr.belong.co.il/ ??? ????

    we worked with face book, it did not bring any resolts, no use at all

  • Guest

    I can see how using Facebook and getting no results for your particular business could leave a stain on how social media doesn’t really help attract new business or traffic to your site. But maybe its not that social media doesn’t work, but perhaps its the type of vehicle, or particular social media site that doesn’t work.

    For instances, a new company called “linkedFa.com” has recently launched their site that has taken the social media platform and concentrated it on a specific industry level. linkedFa.com, “enables investors and financial advisors to adhere to FINRA regulations and communicate through social media (Jason Bishara, Founder).” I was on diggs.com when i saw the article… here is the link –

    http://www.centredaily.com/2010/03/02/1826301/linkedfa-fully-compliant-social.html?storylink=addthis

    Obviously, this company is not the pioneer of social media, but they have created something that could possibly be the next wave to bridge the gap in using social media as a business tool. And to my knowledge they are the only ones out their that have taken this vital step.

    http://www.linkedFa.com

  • http://www.shortstorybook.net Mrunal

    I guess no one has a magic formulae on how to succeed using social media platforms. Once has to try, experiment and then judge the results. And also ROI from these activities cannot be found instantly, results can be seen over the period.

  • worldhookah.com

    I am looking more in to social media now. Normally I pay people to do it. I need to do it my self I guess. I have to admit Facebook brings the customers to the Yard.

  • http://www.lyricshare.co.uk David

    I use Facebook quite a lot as part of my marketing activities. For one things its free! better than paying for email marketing, for a huge fee. Just start a facebook group and invite people to join, its that easy! The other reason is that it does provide web traffic, what happens after that depends on content. The drawbacks are that it requires you to build huge “friends lists”, not quite so easy when facebook restricts the numbers you can add. Also theres no support for html in emails or other media. The response and click through rates are quite low so I wouldnt bother paying for ads on Facebook unless the ROI was really compelling!

  • http://www.seo-web-design.org Patrick Boardman

    Social Media inclusion has become a convenient and profitable offering by kiddie companies in the SEO world but from my experience doing SEO for regular companies who need customer traffic I don’t see that it is cost-effective for the money and time involved. People who have time to visit social media sites and write blogs daily are not the same as the movers and shakers that actually spend money after searching directly for what they need on Google.

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