Social Networking Generates Leads, Closes Sales for Marketers

According to a social media study by Michael Stelzner for the Social Media Success Summit 2009, 88% of marketers in a recent survey say they are now using some form of social media to market their business, though 72% of those using it say they have only been at it a few months or less.

Marketer's Use of Social Media Tools

Social Media

% Respondents Using









YouTube or other video


Social bookmark sites






Digg, Reddit or similar




Source: Social Media Marketing Industry Report, March 2009

Key survey findings about specific application show that:

  • Small-business owners are more likely to use LinkedIn than employees working for a corporation
  • Men are significantly more likely to use YouTube or other video marketing than women (52.4% of all men compared with 31.7% of women)
  • For those just getting under way with social media marketing, LinkedIn is ranked as their number-two choice, pushing blogging down one notch
  • Among those who have been using social media for a few months, Facebook is in second place. This group also has more Twitter use
  • Twitter is used by 94% of marketers who have been using social media for years, followed closely by blogs. This group also endorses online video significantly more than the other groups

72% of marketers say they have either just started or have been using social media for only a few months.

Duration of Social Media Use by Marketers (% of Respondents)


% of Respondents

Just getting started


A few months


A few years


No experience, plan to use


No experience, don't plan to use


Source: Social Media Marketing Industry Report, March 2009

The largest group just getting under way with social media marketing is sole proprietors, with 30.2% reporting just getting started, the survey found. Owners of businesses with 2-100 employees were the most experienced, with 29.3% reporting doing social media marketing for years.

64% of marketers are using social media for five hours or more each week, with 39% using it 10 or more hours weekly and 9.6% spending more than 20 hours each week with social media.

  • Those working for a company are twice as likely as business owners to be committing 20+ hours a week to social media
  • 44.8% of those ages 30-39 old spendi 10+ hours weekly using social media marketing
  • 40.3% of 20-to-29 year-olds spend 10+ hours weekly
  • 38.7%  of 50-to-59 year-olds spend 10+ hours weekly

According to the survey, 81% of all marketers indicate that their social media efforts have generated exposure for their businesses. At least two in three participants found that increased traffic occurred with as little as 6 hours a week invested in social media marketing. Owners of small businesses with 2 - 100 employees are more likely than others to report benefits.

Half of participants reported that a major benefit of social media marketing is the resultant rise in search engine rankings that often comes with increased efforts. Improved search engine rankings were most prevalent among those who've been using social media for years, with nearly 80% reporting a rise.

Benefits of Social Media Marketing (% of Respondents, multiple response OK)


% Responding

Generated exposure


Increased traffic, subscribers, list


New business partners


Increased position in search rankings


Generated qualified leads


Reduced overall marketing expenses


Helped close sales


Source: Social Media Marketing Industry Report, March 2009

When marketers were asked which social media tools they most want to learn more about, social bookmarking sites slightly edged out Twitter as the number one response, with a four-way tie for third place between LinkedIn, StumbleUpon, Facebook and Digg/Reddit/Mixx.

Please visit this site for the complete Whitepaper of the study, "How Marketers are Using Social Media to Grow their Businesses,"

5 comments about "Social Networking Generates Leads, Closes Sales for Marketers".
Check to receive email when comments are posted.
  1. Lynda Partner from Partners Marketing Inc, April 22, 2009 at 10:25 a.m.

    3 out of 4 marketers are using Twitter? Hmmm.... that seemed really really high to me so I decided to do a bit of research myself. I belong to an association of 1800 marketing executives based largely in the US. The association keeps a directory of member twitter accounts which currently numbers 181, or 10% of members. Now it may be that only a few actually bothered to submit their twitter Ids but 10% is not a very high number.

    This gave me a sample of at least 181 twitter accounts set up by marketers. I then went through and viewed each and every twitter page to determine if they were actually actively in use. My definition of active was more than 10 updates, with at least one of those updates submitted in the last 21 days.

    I learned that only 55% of those twitter accounts were by my definition, active, or in other words, about half of the marketers who “used Twitter” to set up an account, had either never posted to it or had not posted anything for the past 3 weeks.

    If the list of twitter accounts in the directory accurately reflects the total twitter accounts held by the group’s membership, then active twitter usage among this group of marketing executives is closer to 5%.

  2. Chris Lorenzoni from Velti, April 22, 2009 at 10:52 a.m.

    I agree that the number for twitter sounds high, digital & mobile marketers are more likely to be using the service vs. traditional marketers. We at Ansible Mobile are using several social networking tactics have seen great results insofar as leads and customer interactions. Thanks for the report- I will twitter about it ;)

  3. Britta Meyer from Loomia, April 22, 2009 at 3:50 p.m.

    this sounds like really positive data for marketers, as many of us are increasingly spending resources on social media, deal with inconsistent ability to track ROI, and yet know that we need to continue down this path to make our marketing mix one that will successfully address the changing consumer behavior going forward.

    in response to Lynda Partner, i think her observations may be a result of the sourcing of the survey participants. if i had participated, my responses would have been very much in line with these results, except the companies i have been working with by their social media nature would make me more of an early adopter at first, and a power user down the line. i definitely noticed that in many traditional industries the adoption of social media happen more bottom-up than top down.

    interesting whitepaper. will twitter now.

  4. Mac Mcintosh from Mac McIntosh Incorporated, April 24, 2009 at 1:26 a.m.

    The title of this article is misleading.

    Although “Generated qualified leads” and “Helped me close business” were listed as benefits seen by the users of social media in this report, they were near the bottom of the list of eight choices, and no information was given about actual numbers of leads, sales or ROI.

    I think it is interesting to note that most of those who said social media helped them generate leads and close business have been active in social networking for years and/or are investing more than 16 hours a week in it.

    By the way, some of the results in Stelzner’s report may be biased, considering that only social media was used to promote survey participation, starting with a tweet on Twitter that got retweeted by others and was seen by Twitterers’ networks on other social media including Facebook and LinkedIn.

    Mac McIntosh

  5. Cecil grass Cecil grass from CoTech, July 8, 2010 at 10:27 a.m.

    What has also been a huge help to my colleagues and I are the <a href="">sales lists</a>
    maintained at They have the most comprehensive consumer lists I've ever used.

Next story loading loading..