For most marketers, getting senior level buy-in on social media marketing investments is an uphill battle, but new research by PulsePoint Group and the Economist Intelligence Unit (as reported by eMarketer) shows that some North American senior executives are starting to figure out just how effective social media marketing can be.
Most of the 329 senior executives who responded to the survey are quick to note that social media marketing is still lacking in objective metrics, but there is no denying that it does have a positive effect on brands. Executives who claimed their companies have an extensive social engagement presence reported a return on investment (ROI) twice as high as those companies with a limited social engagement presence and four times higher than companies with no social engagement presence.
While much of social media marketing is still analyzed subjectively, executives reported a variety of positive benefits of investing marketing budgets into social media initiatives. For example:
- 84% reported improved marketing/sales effectiveness.
- 81% reported increased market share.
- 68% reported improved product/service quality.
- 67% reported improved brand or stock value.
- 65% reported improved speed to market/innovation.
- 65% reported improved collaboration with partners.
- 58% reported improved talent retention.
- 37% reported decreased costs.
Senior executives are also realizing that the long-term brand building value of social media comes from developing relationships that lead to brand loyalty and brand advocacy and a form of word-of-mouth marketing that’s extremely powerful. 69% of executives stated that customers speaking out via social media (even if those conversations were negative) increased sales. 67% of executives said that suppliers connecting via social media raises their games, and 54% said that employees speaking out helps them attract talent.
These are the types of benefits that lead to long-term, sustainable, organic brand and business growth. Short-term tactics are an important part of a social media marketing plan, but a brand’s integrated marketing strategy should focus on building brand awareness, advocacy, and ultimately, equity that can survive through any macro- or micro-environmental problem.
What do you think? Leave a comment and share your thoughts on the study.
Image: Denis Dervisevic
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