|According to new research, "Campaigns to Capabilities: Social Media and Marketing 2011," social media plays an expanding role in advertising and branding efforts, 94 per cent of respondents regard Facebook as one of their top 3 social media platform priorities. 77 per cent view Twitter as one of their top 3 social media platform priorities; 42 per cent say YouTube is one of their top 3 social media platform priorities.
The research, based on quantitative and qualitative input from more than 100 leading companies, finds that 81 per cent of respondents say the marketing department is responsible for social media. 35 per cent of companies have a dedicated head of social media. 50 per cent of respondents said they believe that this role is critical to social media success. And while social media is squarely on the functional agenda of senior marketers, 38 per cent say that social media is CEO-level priority for their companies.
Key themes emerging from the study, says Booz & Company, are highlighted as:
• Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are the cornerstones of most social media strategies
• Leadership of social media is concentrated in the marketing function
• Advertising, PR and customer service are where companies are capturing the greatest benefits from social media
• Companies are exploring the value of social media outside of marketing, but this is still early in development
• Brand measures such as reach and engagement/participation are the key focus areas for metrics
• Content development, community management and data/analytics are the critical priorities for capability development and investment
• Marketers expect to increase their spending on social media; social media in turn will become a larger share of marketers' digital spending
Christopher Vollmer, Partner and Leader of Booz & Company's Media and Entertainment Practice, says "...as social media grows in importance, leading companies are... shifting their focus from campaigns to capabilities... transforming their model for marketing from one of ‘brand management' to ‘brand curation'"
To put the response in perspective, though, note that 89 per cent of respondents said social media counts for less than 10 per cent of overall digital marketing spend. In 2014, only 45 per cent of respondents expect social to account for less than 10 per cent of their digital budget. 28 per cent believe social will grow to be 20 per cent or more of their digital budgets. 79 per cent say funding for social media will come out of their digital budgets versus other media (e.g., TV, print, radio).
Supporting the key themes discovered in the research, the report goes on to include these specifics...
96 per cent of respondents said they are using social media for "advertising and promotions." 88 per cent said PR, and 75 per cent said customer service. When asked where they see the most benefit from social media, 90 per cent said "brand building," 89 per cent said "interactivity," 88 per cent said "buzz building", and 81 per cent said "consumer insights."
Outside of marketing, PR and customer service, 56 per cent of respondents are using social media to support market research, 40 per cent for product development efforts and 24 per cent are using it for internally focused communications to employees. While the biggest benefits are associated with marketing, 48 per cent are using social media for sales and commerce. And 38 per cent have metrics in place to track this kind of transaction value.
88 per cent of marketers are tracking the reach of their social media efforts and closely monitoring engagement as well as participation. 81 per cent are looking to measure social media's impact on advocacy. 97 per cent have or are building their own in-house dashboards to monitor performance.
96 per cent of respondents say they expect to be increasing their investments in capabilities related to social media. 57 per cent are concentrating their efforts on hiring new people. 72 per cent are planning to invest in creative and editorial talent; 59 per cent are targeting community management; and 43 per cent plan to upgrade their analytical resources.
Concluding, Vollmer says that "... (the) new model is more dynamic and real-time... iterative,... content- and people-intensive... requiring... deeper capabilities in content development to connect with target consumers... to manage, grow and activate audiences... and (develop) data-driven insights to analyze consumer behavior and measure impact."