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Nearly three-quarters (74%) of surveyed marketers say they are actively monitoring social media via paid or free tools, but less than one-quarter (24%) among them are extremely satisfied with their social monitoring tools, according to a survey from Web Liquid and RSW/US

Social media monitoring (SMM), an emerging marketing research and brand management function, is still an experimental activity for most marketers. Among those already conducting some type of SMM, 71% say their solution is somewhat valuable to them:

Digital marketers who use paid social media monitoring solutions are twice as likely to be "extremely satisfied" as those who use a free solution, according to the study.

Below, additional findings from the 2011 Marketers and Social Media Monitoring Survey, from the Web Liquid Group and RSW/US.

Most Brands Using a Free Tool: Google 

Google Alerts (46%) is the dominant social media monitoring (SMM) tool, but some marketers are using more sophisticated, paid solutions with Radian6 (7%), Meltwater Buzz (4%), and Nielsen Buzzmetrics (3%) among the most popular.

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Benefits of SMM 

The benefits of SMM investments are diverse, but the most commonly reported applications are in communications strategy (28%) and customer service (19%).

Search—both organic (13%) and paid (13%) are also popular applications of gleaned social media information.

Spending on SMM is set to increase: Among those now conducting SMM, 62% plan to increase investments in the coming year, while 37% plan to keep their spending flat.

About the data: Findings are from a survey of 237 marketing executives, primarily from medium-sized and large companies (65% have annual revenues of $51 million or greater), conducted from May to June, 2011.

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