Social Media Spending Tipped to Rise to 11.5% of Marketing Budgets

How much of your content marketing budget will you be spending on content writers and social media in 2014? If the results of a key US survey are anything to go by, the value of social media to a business’s overall marketing strategy is on the rise, and this question is worthy of some serious consideration.

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Survey findings

The CMO survey was founded in 2008 by Christine Moorman, a professor of business administration at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business. The survey canvasses the opinions of nearly 500 chief marketing officers (CMOs) from top US companies, such as P&G and the Coca Cola Company. The findings are released twice a year.

According to the results published in February, the current average spend on social media marketing activities is 8.4% of marketing budgets. This is expected to increase to 11.5% within the next 12 months, and to 21.6% in the next five years.

As part of the survey, CMOs were also asked how well social media activities were integrated into their overall marketing strategy, and how they measured the return-on-investment (ROI) of their social media activities.

Social media was defined as including blogging, product reviews, product design, social networking, forums, and video or photo sharing.

The survey revealed less than 10% of CMOs felt that social media activities were highly integrated into their overall marketing strategies. With regard to measuring ROI, the most-used method (40.9%) was hits / visits to their main business site. This was followed by number of followers (30.5%), repeat visits (24.9%), conversion rates (21.1%) and various other methods.

So what does all this mean for me?

In effect, the results indicate that social media is becoming more relevant in terms of marketing budgets and strategies, and that it needs to be well-managed to be effective and to lead to better marketing decisions.

With social media being a relatively new concept, as a business owner, you need to put some critical thought into how you will integrate it into your overall marketing, and how to maximise the return on your investment of time and money.

How can social media be best managed?

When it comes to marketing, it’s important that social media forms a part of the overall strategy and is not seen as some sort of superfluous add-on. “It’s therefore not surprising that firms still cannot figure out how to use social media to achieve organisational objectives….this strategy should be planned, implemented and controlled like all marketing strategies,” Moorman said in a press release. It’s also important that it does not become a time-waster.

The purpose of your social media activities should be decided on before you start. It can be useful for sharing web content that has a marketing focus, for building good professional relationships with clients, for showing a ‘human face’ of the company, and for networking with other businesses in the same industry or complementary industries.

Some tips for managing it well include:

  • Decide which platforms you are going to use, and stick mostly to those. Make the most of the platforms your customers are largely using.
  • Target your social media activity well – that is, to audiences that are relevant to you.
  • Use social media as a pointer to your main site. However make sure your site has excellent, top-notch content and SEO. Utilise the services of professional content writers and SEO experts if you need help with these issues.
  • Don’t spend too much time on discussions and don’t get embroiled in debates. If someone voices a complaint respond politely and refer them to the people in your organisation who can help them.
  • Implement time limits on social media use if necessary.
  • Use it for building professional relationships, and for listening and responding to what others are saying. Social media is a two-way street.
  • Promote relevant content of other business if you think it may interest your audience.
  • Don’t forget it can be very useful for gathering information, listening to what people want, and exploring options.

Finally, track your progress by measuring how well social media activities are working for your business. And as for all marketing strategies, any measurements of the effectiveness of social media activities should be used for making better decisions in the future.

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