Home Despite Recession, More Than 50% of Marketers Increase Spending on Social Media

Despite Recession, More Than 50% of Marketers Increase Spending on Social Media

In a recession, budgets are tightened, jobs are cut, and those who remain are expected to do more with less. Given this type of economic reality, it’s surprising to hear of an industry reporting an increase in spending on anything, much less on something as new as social media. Yet that’s exactly what’s occurring. According to a new Forrester Research survey of 145 global interactive marketers in both B2B and B2C companies with more than 250 employees, the use of social media as a marketing tool is on the rise. What’s more, Forrester reports that over 50% of marketers said they will be increasing their spending on social media marketing in the coming months.

Part of the reason for this increased spending is the low cost of social media tools. Compared with larger expenditures like advertising, social media requires much less investment. In fact, three-quarters of those surveyed who knew their budgets said they allowed for $100,000 or less for social media tools over a 12-month period.

It’s also easier for firms to increase spending on social media applications because they aren’t yet formalized line items in marketing budgets. Because of their relatively new and still somewhat experimental nature, marketers aren’t necessarily predetermining the exact amount they’ll spend on these types of applications. Instead, some marketers (45%) pull together funding for social media projects as needed while others (23%) scrape together funds from wherever possible to pay for their various social media efforts.

Yet despite the unconventional methods which are used to fund many companies’ social media investments, 53% of marketers believe they will increase their spending on these initiatives over the next six months. Another 42% expect their investments to remain the same. That makes sense since almost all marketers surveyed were already using some form of social media, whether blogs, social networking sites, or user-generated content.

Unfortunately though, marketers who still fund social media projects only as experiments may be putting future initiatives on shaky ground. Without concentrating on measurable objectives, it will be difficult to justify further investment in the future. Businesses also need to understand that social media efforts should be analyzed for effectiveness based on things like customer awareness through activity, interest through interaction, and intent to buy through registration and/or questions. These are the types of successes that social media can deliver; less important are traditional web analytics like page views.

Also key to long-term success in social media is having the necessary assets on hand. For example, social media strategists and community managers should be dedicated resources.

To prove the value of social media to the business, Forrester recommends marketers start with a listening platform and then integrate social media marketing metrics like share of voice and engagement to demonstrate the value of these new tools.

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