North American marketers on average use 7.5 different social tactics when reaching out to consumers. They range from Facebook update, posts and brand pages; to YouTube videos and word-of-mouth marketing. And while marketers have become more comfortable with social media, the biggest problem seems to be that many still think social doesn't require a financial investment.
In Forrester Research's Benchmark Your North American Social Marketing Efforts study, the analyst firm examines patterns and satisfaction levels of marketers using Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube, as well as eight other social tactics, from word-of-mouth marketing to branded communities or forums.
Some 28% of marketers surveyed by Forrester admit not allocating a budget to
social in 2013, and an additional 55% allocated a mere 1% to 10% of their total budget, followed by 28% who invest zero, and 11% who allocate between 11% to 20%.
Social investments will rise in 2014. In fact, 77% plan to increase the amount they put toward social marketing.About 51% said budgets will increase by 10%; 15% said they will increase budgets by 20%; 10% said by between 30% and 40%; and 1% said by 50%. Some marketers will decrease budgets. About 2% said they will decrease budgets by between 20% and 30%; followed by 3% at 10%; and 17% said they won't change their investment.
Too many marketers take the easy way out and ignore social tactics that work best. Ratings and reviews, for example, have the highest satisfaction score, but only 57% of marketers have adopted the tactic. One reason that adoption is low in comparison to others--integrating ratings and reviews into product pages can require significant investment.
On the other hand, Forrester Research suggests "Twitter fails to live up to the hype." Nearly two-thirds of marketers use Twitter, yet they are less satisfied with the media compared with any other social networks, all except Facebook. A majority of marketers participating in the survey use Twitter to drive awareness, but Twitter is more effective as a relationship builder to engage existing customers. This gap contributes to the lack of satisfaction.