Social media marketing has gained its place at the table. eMarketer estimates 80% of companies with at least 100 employees will use social networks for marketing this year, up from nearly three in four last year. By 2012, usage will be even greater, and, in turn, efforts are becoming more sophisticated.
Most companies now recognize a well crafted social media strategy is a vital part of the marketing mix. In fact, a study from Jive Software and Penn, Schoen & Berland found 78% of executives thought a social business strategy was somewhat or very important to the future success of their business.
Despite this realization, most executives are still only in the tentative stages of making social strategy a priority.
The survey of executives who have final say or significant input on social business strategy found that only 27% listed social business as a top strategic priority. Nearly half (47%) admitted a social plan was necessary but not a strategic priority and 19% said social business strategy was simply not necessary.
Meanwhile, executives were also not overly optimistic about their current social strategy efforts. Only 17% felt their social strategy was ahead of the curve. About four in 10 (42%) felt their social strategy was just keeping up and 33% felt they were behind.
A different study from Forbes Insights and Coremetrics showed a similar amount of enthusiasm for social strategy. Only 11% of US and UK executives surveyed at large businesses listed social media strategy as a leading priority in 2011—tied for last place with mobile marketing. Social media strategy will receive a small boost in 2012, though, with 19% of execs listing it as a leading marketing priority for the coming year.
Many companies may be using social media marketing, but those that choose not to focus on a social strategy risk falling behind the curve in integrating social media with their overall marketing goals. Recognizing the importance of strategy alone isn’t enough; companies should start implementing a plan.
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