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A report from online marketing specialist MarketingSherpa examined
how 3,342 consumer and B2B marketers are budgeting for social media,
responding to its maturity as a marketing channel, executing
top-performing tactics, integrating social media with other channels,
and using social media to drive return on investment. This is
MarketingSherpa’s third benchmark report analyzing how marketers are
using social media to engage audience, build brand, generate leads and
drive sales.

A key finding from the 2011 research is that, on average, marketers are
reporting a 95 percent ROI on their social media efforts, with 30
percent reporting a ROI of at least 150 percent. It’s being delivered
through social media integration, brand awareness, converting members
and followers into paying customers, and generating and nurturing leads
by executing an effective social marketing strategy. The report noted
this is a dramatic shift from MarketingSherpa’s first research study
that revealed marketers were unable to demonstrate ROI from social

“The history of social media is very short; our first benchmark guide
was published in 2009, which analyzed the use of social media in 2008,”
explains Sergio Balegno, director of research for MecLabs. “It was at
the ‘all-hype’ stage then: there were no clear objectives or best
practices beyond the soft objectives of building customer awareness.
There weren’t the hard-and-fast lead generation and sales conversations
featured in our 2011 report. Social media has rocketed to a place that
took the internet a good decade to arrive at.”

The 200-page report unveils the details of marketers’ success and their
challenges. More than 150 charts and analyses, and abridged case
studies of real-life social marketing campaigns explore key issues
impacting social marketing, including social media monitoring,
monetization, budgeting, CRM integration and tactics. Additional
research found CMO priorities are requiring social media to “show them
the money”, spending projections compare to last year’s substantial
increases, fast and easy often trumps effectiveness and social CRM
integration is gaining momentum.

Highlights of the study include why social marketing’s most important
objectives address the most difficult challenges, values and costs
organizations are using to calculate ROI, how organizations are
allocating social media budgets and where these budgets reside, the
usage, effectiveness and difficulty of social marketing tactics and
platforms, how marketers are integrating social media with other
tactics in the inbound marketing mix and how agencies view their
clients’ social marketing efforts.