Though most company decision-makers view social media as essential to their business, most also say they have not made money from it: 54.2% of marketers and business professionals surveyed say social media is "innovative and invaluable to their business," but 64.5% say their companies have not increased revenue or profited from using social media, according to a survey from R2integrated.

Meanwhile, over one-third of marketing and business professionals (37.0%) say social media is useful and helpful, but they could live without it:


One-half of marketing and business professionals (50%) say their companies have a defined social media strategy. 

Below, other findings from the Social Media Study by R2integrated, which surveyed 262 marketing and business professionals from a diverse range of industries about their perceptions of social media.

Over six in ten marketing and business professionals (60.1%) cite lead generation as their primary reason for using social media. Some 26.9% say they use it to monitor conversations about their brand, and 5.1% say they use it because their competitors do.

Unclear ROI Impedes Social Media Strategies

Among the major impediments to implementing their social media strategy, 35.8% of marketing and business professionals cite the lack of data and analysis to develop ROI, followed by 22.6% who cite getting senior management buy-in.

Another 21.01% don't think their audience is active on social media.
Most marketing and business professionals (41.6%) say their companies are still learning how to use social media, while 33.2% say their companies are now proficient, 11.1% say they are experts, and 10.7% say they are behind the curve.

Only 11.8% of marketing and business professionals now use an outside agency to help with social media marketing. Most (48.5%) say social media should be handled internally. However, 39.7% say they would trust a digital agency to conduct social media outreach but do not use an agency for that purpose.

Nearly six in ten marketing professionals (57.3%) work in companies with a dedicated social media manager.

Profitability Linked to Strategy, Headcount, Education

Marketing and business professionals who say their companies have profited or increased revenues using social media are roughly twice as likely to have a formal social media strategy, have a dedicated headcount for managing social media, and rate themselves as "proficient" or "expert."

In addition, they are three times as likely to have read a book on social media.

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Social Media Leaders

Among social media gurus, Lady Gaga is the most well known personality (80.1%). The American music celebrity is known for engaging her fans via social media, including tweeting regularly to her audiences from backstage.

Also, 61.4% of marketing and business professionals say they have heard of Seth Godin, 49.6% say they have heard of Guy Kawasaki, and 35.5% say they have heard of Chris Brogan. Just 2.3% have heard of Chester Chowlinski—a fictional person.

Social Media Books

Malcom Gladwell's Tipping Point is the most popular book (42.3%), followed by Twilight (16.7%), the vampire romance novel by Stephenie Meyer.

Some 9.5% say they have read Twitterville by Shel Israel, 9.2% have read Trust Agents by Chris Brogan and Julien Smith, and 8.4% have read Free by Chris Anderson.

Other findings:

  • Among the top sources for social media information, Mashable is the most popular (45.8%), followed by TechCrunch (35.8%), Digg (32.8%), and Reddit (14.5%).
  • Most marketers and business professionals (43.5%) say they don't know much about location-based social networks such as Foursquare, while 30.2% say they are a big opportunity for marketers and companies.

About the data: The survey of 262 marketing and business professional was conducted by R2integrated from March 26 to April 5, 2010.


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