Social marketing goes mainstream but management strategy remains elusive

New Chief Marketer report into social media strategies employed by marketing teams finds most investing in these channels, but technology and content planning adoption is still low

Social media marketing might have gone mainstream, but the adoption of management technology and content policy strategies to ensure its effectiveness remains niche, a new report reveals.

According to Chief Marketer’s 2013 Annual Social Marketing survey, 77 per cent of all respondents are integrating social into their own or client campaigns, and are either using, or plan to use, a wide variety of social tools to engage with customers and prospects such as coupons, exclusive discount offers that are easily shareable, and offers targeted to geo-social networks such as Foursquare.

The highest percentage of marketers (54 per cent) will spend up to 10 per cent of their marketing budget on social marketing this year, while 20 per cent plan to spend between 10 and 20 per cent. Facebook is the most popular channel, followed by Twitter, LinkedIn and video aggregation sites.

Top reasons cited for social spending are the chance to reach multiple touch points (87 per cent), reaching customers where they are spending time online (64 per cent), because customers expect brands to be there (55 per cent) and starting a conversation with customers and prospects (49 per cent).

Nearly half of all those surveyed are producing unique content as a reward for engaging with the brand, and 32 per cent are displaying ads in social networks.

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While there’s plenty of investment going on, social media management is still in its infancy. Social management software tools are currently only being used by 34 per cent of respondents, although 16 per cent do have plans to invest in tools such as HootSuite or Crowd Factory this year. However, 39 per cent said they had no plans to do so.

Social monitoring technology adoption was similar, with 24 per cent using tools such as Radian 6, and 16 per cent planning to implement these systems by the end of the year. Nearly half of respondents have no plans to do so this year.

When it comes to who is looking after social campaigning, 38 per cent said the marketing department has primary responsibility, while 22 per cent have specialist social media staff. Thirteen per cent share social activity across multiple departments.

In terms of scheduling, nearly one-third said posting happens irregularly without planning (29 per cent), while 25 per cent said a few individuals create and post content within a few days planning. Just 16 per cent said that multiple stakeholders in their organisation created a calendar at least one month ahead.

The Chief Marketer survey was conducted by email in August. The report is based on 1020 respondents, of which 45 per cent were B2B marketers, 21 per cent were B2C, and 34 per cent covered both.

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