Measuring the effectiveness of social media marketing and allocating sufficient resources to it were identified as the biggest challenges facing marketers in 2012.
Results of a study conducted in December 2012 by social marketing software provider, Awareness Inc. have recently been released in a paper titled ‘The State Of Social Media Marketing: Top Areas For Social Marketing Investment And Biggest Social Marketing Challenges In 2012’
The survey, answered by 320 marketers from various industries and with varied levels of experience in social marketing, highlights how professionals can improve their social marketing skills and reach out to a larger audience in order to maximise their ROI.
In 2012, there will be an increased presence of businesses across social marketing platforms, according to the report. Content publishing is predicted to happen at a higher frequency and social marketing management and monitoring will receive more attention.
Among the major challenges that marketers continue to face are the generation of sufficient resources – 77% of respondents identified this is a challenge – followed by the ability to accurately measure the return on investment generated by their marketing campaigns – 58% of respondents consider this to be a challenge.
Apart from popular social sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, marketers are also trying to make use of other resources such as blogs, forums and YouTube. Mobile is also recognised as a growing area for investment.
It has been found that those who are new to social marketing do not give much importance to the availability of appropriate tools and methods, but those who already run social campaigns pay more heed to the availability of the right tools and methods to reach out to the target audience.
Emphasis on Measurement & Monitoring
78% of those surveyed have reported that they monitor social media channels to check how often their brand is being mentioned, while 62% monitor industry conversations for the same purpose. Most of those who have not concentrated on this activity in the previous year, plan to do so this year.
While it is difficult to actually measure the ROI of a campaign, it is necessary, in order to decide the future allocation of budgets. A majority of marketers used the number of new fans and followers as an indicator of their reach. Others used the amount of traffic generated from social channels to Web properties as an indicator of success. Engagement, brand mention across social platforms and social conversations are other ways used to measure the ROI. Marketers with limited budgets were found to focus on increasing presence across social media platforms, while those with larger budgets, concentrate more on social media monitoring and management.
In effect, irrespective of whether a company is experienced with social media marketing or is a new comer to this platform, and irrespective of the budget available, all those surveyed said they will continue to focus on social media marketing in the coming year.