Posted April 30, 2012 8:48 am by with 0 comments

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A surprising number of people are still confused about social media marketing. They know it’s on trend and that it’s probably good for business but logistically, it’s still a bit of a mystery for most.

EPiServer recently surveyed 250 UK marketing decision makers and their thoughts on social media marketing were all over the board. On the upside, 77% of them said they were running some kind of online community and 35% said they’ve been using social media for more than a year.

Of those with a social media marketing strategy, 30% said it’s increased their customer loyalty, 25% said it increased web traffic and 21% said they saw a direct increase in sales. Bravo. But only 1 in 10 said they had an effective means of measuring the benefits and that’s crazy.

Imagine going to a basketball game without baskets. No means of scoring. The two teams just manipulate the ball up and down the court for two hours then everyone in the stands randomly decides which team won. How is that any different from guessing whether your social media marketing is working or not?

Let’s look at a few more stats from the study.

The average marketer spends an hour a day on social media but less than half (45%) said they monitor their own communities and blogs. You could read that two ways. It could mean that the majority of marketers don’t monitor at all, or it could mean that they have an outside person to do it. Probably somewhere in between given that 40% of those surveyed said they don’t have a dedicated social media person.

So who is running the social media show?

  • 22% of companies already have a social media or community manager
  • 28% of social media activities are run by a marketing executive
  • 14% by a PR executive
  • 16% by the IT manager

The IT manager? Is that because some people see social media as being “techy” so we throw the job to the IT guys? That’s proof that at least 16% of companies have no idea what social media marketing is all about.

EPiServer says that many companies are overwhelmed by the entire process. Only 24% of those surveyed use one platform to update multiple accounts. Only 6% had their social media results centralized. That means that the majority are processing Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc. individually, by logging in and out of each account to perform updates. Yeah, that’s time consuming and brain consuming, I get it. Then, you start adding in every service that’s on trend – Pinterest, Google+, Tumblr – and it’s no wonder that 52% of companies have had to increase the time they spend on social media.

I’m not against more time spent. What I’m against is time wasted. Rushing to Pinterest with your interior design company makes sense. Rushing to Pinterest with your auto parts company, not so much. And even though I frown upon simply pasting the same social media update into every profile you own, some cross-over is fine and necessary. Set your Facebook to update your Twitter or use a service like Hootsuite to schedule updates in advance. That’s the “in.” On the “out” side, monitor account activity on a regular basis with a service like Trackur.

Finally, remember that the first word in all of this is “social.” Respond to comments. Seek out mentions on Twitter. Solve the problems people are posting publicly. Social media marketing is about conversation, even if all the other party is saying is I “like” you.