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Among a list of 12 social media success enablers, the ability to react and adapt quickly to change is ranked as the most important factor for succeeding in today's social media environment, according to a new survey from Booz & Company and Buddy Media Research.

Among surveyed Fortune 500 marketers, 94% cite the ability to adapt quickly to change as the most critical enabler of social media success, followed by having an in-house social media champion (93%), clearly communicated executive support (90%), a solid education on social media (90%), and a culture of experimentation (88%).

Applying an integrated approach to social marketing (86%) ranks sixth among success enablers, followed by the training staff who are unaccustomed to social media (83%), a strong PR capability (80%), unique content that's exclusive to audiences on various platforms (79%), and the ability to coordinate multiple service providers (62%).

Budgets and staffing rank lower among leading marketers: 53% cite having a dedicated social media budget as a key enabler of success, while 50% say having a senior-level company-wide head of social media is critical.

Below, additional findings from the report titled "Campaigns to Capabilities: Social Media and Marketing 2011," based on a survey of 106 Fortune 500 marketing executives, conducted by Booz & Company and Buddy Media Research.

Among the report's key findings: 

  • 32% of leading companies say their brand presence on platforms such as Facebook and Twitter is becoming more important than their own website. 
  • Advertising and promotions (96%), public relations (88%), and customer service (75%) are among the top 3 ways such companies are using social channels.
  • Marketing departments oversee social media initiatives in most (81%) leading companies with 35% having a senior-level executive dedicated to social media. 
  • 35% of companies say they have a senior-level executive who is responsible for social media company-wide.

Benefits in Upper Stages of Purchase Funnel

Asked in which areas they are realizing benefit from social media, marketers cite brand building (90%), followed by interactivity (89%), buzz building (88%), and mining consumer insights (81%).


Among other key benefits, marketers cite the following:

  • A creative and innovative addition to the marketing mix: 71%
  • Speed of execution: 71%
  • Ability to execute social campaigns at lower costs than other media: 71%
  • Website traffic: 66%

Some companies have begun to explore the value of social media outside of marketing: 56% of marketers are using social media to support market research, 40% for product development efforts, and 24% are using social media for internal communications.  

Top Channels

Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are the cornerstones of most social media strategies: 94% of marketers say Facebook is among their top 3 social platform priorities; 77% say the same about Twitter, while 42% say YouTube is one of their top 3 priorities.

Important Metrics

Among Fortune 500 marketers, the most popular measures used to track social media include the following: 

  • Engagement (e.g., forwards, shares, retweets, etc.): 93%
  • Participation (e.g., fans, followers, etc.): 92%
  • Reach (e.g., unique visitors, numbers of views, etc.): 88%
  • Advocacy (e.g., comments, feedback, participation in polls): 81%

Fully nine in ten marketers (90%) say social metrics need to be tailored and adapted to campaign specific needs, and 97% have or are building their own in-house dashboards to monitor performance. 

Spending Growth

Among spending related findings:

  • 96% of marketers say they expect to be increasing their investments in capabilities related to social media, either substantially (39%) or somewhat (57%). 
  • 89% of marketers say social media accounts counts for less than 10% of overall digital marketing spend, but only 45% of marketers expect social to account for less than 10% of their digital budget by 2014. 
  • 79% of marketers say funding for social media will come out of their digital budgets, as opposed to other media (e.g., TV, print, radio).

Content development, community management and data/analytics are the critical priorities for capability development and investment.

Among those increasing spending in social media, 57% say they are concentrating their efforts on hiring new people with 72% planning to invest in creative and editorial talent, 59% targeting community management, and 43% planning to upgrade their analytical resources.

As mentioned previously, most marketers expect social media to become a bigger part of their marketing mix, and agree or strongly agree with the following statements:

  • Our organization will integrate social media into all advertising and marketing: 65%
  • Investing in relationships with consumers via social media is more important than mass media to our brands: 54%
  • Social media should be the fastest-growing segment of our marketing budget: 49%
  • Social media is driving our approach to mobile marketing: 40%
  • Social media is a traffic source that is more important than search: 27%

About the data: Findings are based on responses to an online survey from 106 marketers of leading companies (primarily Fortune 500), as well as in-depth interviews conducted during the summer of 2011. The sample is composed of companies across a range of industries, with more than 60% having annual revenues of $1billion or more. Some 35% of respondents are C-level or senior managers and 51% are mid-level managers. Among the respondents, 36% have global-level responsibilities.

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