Though many companies are now using social media to acquire new customers and increase brand awareness, few are using social media channels for customer-service objectives, according to a survey from Alterian.

Among surveyed top-brand senior-level marketing executives, 30.1% cite customer acquisition as their most important objective for social media and 26.5% cite driving brand awareness. Just 1.2% cite customer service:

Below, other findings from the Engaging Times Summit survey, which polled 400 senior-level marketing executives from major US brands on brand socialization, engagement strategies, and social media ROI .

Cross-Channel Coordination Still Important

Despite a lack of emphasis on customer-service objectives with social media, roughly 90% of marketing execs say cross-channel coordination is vital in marketing campaigns.

Similarly, 61% say their brand's engagement with consumers occurs both online and offline, suggesting that engagement takes place on multiple platforms.

Social Media Engagement

Marketers are increasingly viewing social media as a means for engagement as opposed to promotion: Three out of four marketing execs (74.8%) say their brand is either somewhat or extremely engaged with social media. Roughly one-quarter (25.3%) say they are not very engaged or not engaged at all with social media:

Measuring ROI is still a challenge: Just 20% of marketing execs say they are measuring ROI in terms of brand socialization, 42% are somewhat able to measure ROI, and 37% of marketers say they are not at all able to do so.

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Measuring ROI

Though some marketers are unsure about social-media ROI, the majority (57%) say investing in social media has been worthwhile for their brand and 34.9% say's it's still too early to tell. Not one marketer, however, says social media is not a worthwhile investment.

"It's surprising that brands are reporting that they don't highly value deploying customer service in the social media channel," said David Eldridge, CEO of Alterian. "Many are underutilizing this approach, as all brands need to be prepared to handle their customers' complaints and act on them.

"While marketers may have different objectives than those working in the customer service department, it's important to have a cross-channel strategy and integrate outreach to gain maximum exposure and positive chatter about your brand online."

About the data: Findings are from a survey of 400 senior-level marketing executives from major US brands who attended the Alterian Engaging Times Americas Summit, held August 17-18, 2010. 

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Brands Undervalue Social Media for Customer Service

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