The highlight of the survey for me was that 61% of the companies in the survey use social technologies as an ongoing part of their business.
However, several challenges emerged in terms of budget, resources and ROI.
Only 55% of the companies reported that they devote part-time or full-time resources to manage and drive their social media initiatives and only 40% have devoted budget dollars to social media efforts. To me, this seems like many companies are paying lip service to social media or implementing it haphazardly instead of fully embracing social media and making it an integral part of their corporate DNA.
Measuring ROI remains a challenge for most companies as only 16% are able to measure ROI for their social media programs. This means that software vendors and analytics vendors need to do a better job of making it easier to capture, measure and analyze metrics from social media.
When you look at how businesses are using social technologies, Marketing tops the chart at 57% penetration. There remain significant opportunities for growth in the customer service and sales areas which only have 29% and 21% penetration respectively. These areas are also where the ROI numbers should be more concrete and easier to measure too.
I was pleased to see that the most mentioned social media applications and technologies matched my own list. The survey respondents listed blogs, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, chat and standalone community sites as their most used technologies.
Barry predicts that:
1. Brands will strive for deeper user engagement within social networks and online communities.
2. Strategy and metrics will become more closely integrated
3. Bigger budgets will be devoted to social media initiatives