social media researchAlterian’s 8th annual survey of marketers examined the changes affecting marketing professionals today. The results below show a developing shift—one that’s moving away from the typical broadcasting we’ve seen in social media’s early days and moving more toward higher engagement.

According to the survey, marketers admit to struggling with customer engagement on multiple channels. This makes sense as many marketers are just beginning to experiment with more engagement efforts, one channel at a time.

In the near future, we’ll begin to see this single channel engagement morph into a more synergistic engagement effort over multiple channels. As we’ve seen with other social media trends, these shifts take time.

Here are some of the findings:

  • Customization: The vast majority of respondents have created a customized experience for their social channels. (Only 9% admitted to not customizing any of their channels.)
  • IT vs. Marketing: 66% of respondents admitted to having friction between their IT and marketing departments.
  • Social Conversations: A vast majority of marketers (7 out of 10) say they have little understanding of social media conversations surrounding their brand.

alterian infographic

In addition to delivering these insightful statistics, Alterian also created the above infographic to give a snapshot of the most important stats.

Click here to read the full report and download the infographic.

Alterian asked marketing professionals a series of engagement questions. Let’s take a look and see where you stand in relation to others in your industry.

#1: How will marketing budgets change over next year?

About half of the marketers surveyed claim their budget will increase slightly, while about 9% see their budgets greatly increasing.

In addition, about a quarter of those surveyed plan to maintain the same investment, roughly 10% will decrease their budgets and a little over 7% say they have not yet determined next year’s budget.

#2: How will social media budgets change over next year?

About half of the marketers surveyed expect their social/digital marketing expenditures will increase slightly while 23% see their expenditures greatly increasing.

Also, 14% of the marketers plan to maintain the same investment while 4% will spend less than the year before.

#3: Do you monitor social media conversations?

Almost 40% of those surveyed said they are using a few ad-hoc tools and 30% said they are reporting regularly to management.

In addition, almost 30% claim they have very little understanding of the social media conversations happening around their brand or those of their clients.

#4: Are you as engaged with customers as you should be?

A little over half of those surveyed (57%) feel their brand (or client’s brand) is somewhat at risk and are taking action to fix the challenge.

13% said they know they need to better engage but haven’t taken action and 7% admitted there were major concerns, but didn’t know where to start to fix the issues.

Lastly, about a quarter of the marketers claimed their brand (or those of their clients) was not at risk and they were fully engaged with their customers.

Now it’s your turn! Did any of these statistics surprise you? What changes have you made to engage with your customers? Share your thoughts in the comments box below.

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  • Amy..people must take social media seriously if their going to be doing it. Track the engagement so you know whether or not your on the right track or not..

    “Black Seo Guy “Signing Off”

  • Hi Amy,

    I’ve actually been asking business owners and other social media marketers about their listening/monitoring tactics and their monitoring tools. This report seems right on!

    Personally, I think I’ve been so busy listening and watching, that I could be working a bit more on engagement! 🙂

    My opinion is that if we’re not listening AND analyzing the information it is the equivalent of octopus tentacles swooshing everywhere with no hopes of catching the tasty fish (quality customers). It is there we run into the issue of decision-makers not seeing value in social media.

    The coasts have covered their ground, moreso, in getting the good message out. We need to see this bleed in toward the middle of the United States.

    Leaders working in social media need to be presenting their packages as a dual investment — social media engagement *with* monitoring — so the message is consistent and clear. Recent roll-outs of analytics tools are good in getting us there. 🙂


  • Amy – I assume these are larger brands we are talking about. I speak to small businesses and it is astonishing how few even use Google Alerts to monitor their brand – often less than 20%.

    Clearly, this explains why those that are willing to personalize are getting results. I find that to be exciting. Thanks for the resource and perspective.


  • Amy, congrats on your post, it brings forward a lot interesting information. I’m glad I’m learning about the importance of social media now. I just came out of school with a degree in advertising and it’s amazing to me how much I have learned about social media and internet marketing.It’s so vital to the health of a brand now and yet so many people are just catching on.

  • Hi Amy.

    Great info here.

    Just read through Gary Vaynerchuks Thank You Economy, and he talks a lot about the new ways we engage with brands. It is important also to get out reports like this that show brands how they should take better advantage of this new form of engagements.

    I am soon getting Brian Solis Engage! here, looking forward to read that.

    Thanks for sharing this info Amy.

    Cheers.. Are

  • Tomsmaith

    For certain type of businesses where brand comes in to play or the nature of the business is more social media engaging, it definitely makes sense to be more active. But there are many businesses that by nature are just not that engaging like lock smith, driveway paving, eye glasses, window washing, etc.. Not sure if social media is meaningful to them.

  • Small business understands the importance of engagement, I believe moreso then corporate America. However our audience often doesn’t pay enough attention to hold a conversation with.

    Personally we’ve tried to engage our audience on many levels to find out what they want and what the like and we have received very poor results.

    It does make us question the real value of social media for small local or even regional business like ours.

  • Nick

    I am with a small business, we use Google Alerts. It is decent at monitoring the industry (mortgage) but I don’t get a lot about our specific brand even though we blog post alot and are often quoted in the media i.e., 3-4 times per month.

  • Spot on, Amy! While most clients “use” Social Media — not many go beyond their perception of what that requires. And that seems to be subjective from client to client. I think for the most part everyone is feeling their way around what works best for them. But what I do know to be a fact, for myself as well, is engagement takes time — boatloads — and we all seem to have limited bandwidth in that regard.

    That’s why I love when SME posts about tools and apps to help organize all networks and information to make that task easier.

    Good stuff!

  • Great post Amy! We work VERY hard to engage each and every comment made on our page, and it has done us well. I think there is definitely a shift in who are now the real “experts” and I am sure it is upsetting some of the bigger marketers because they were not in front of the game for once. I remember hearing one so called guru once say “social media is a fad, and it’s stupid and will fade away” well I wonder often if he is standing in a breadline someplace regretting telling people that? =-)

  • JayTee

    Is this an apt analogy: If you go from one phone # to 9 phone #s on which people can leave feedback or interact with you, you need to spend more time or add staff in order to track the input on that increased amount of #s. Just seeking the expert input of this community to help me wrap my head around the uses & pitfalls of adding social media to my marketing efforts. THANKS!

  • Amy, I am not surprised by the statistics. I think people are still overwhelmed with everything they have to do with their social media campaign.

    Imagine trying to juggle the different balls; some are going to fall out of your hand, since you haven’t figured out to keep them all in the air.

    The Social Media landscape is changing rapidly. It is very difficult to keep up. What I think happens is paralysis sets in, and you do nothing. A business might be so busy focusing on measuring and monitoring they forget to engage.

  • Once again I agree with you

  • Megan Getter

    I agree that social media can be overwhelming. With so many different outlets it’s hard to keep up.

    I think one question Amy left out is…Where are your customers? If your customers are using Facebook for 80% of conversations, then that’s where the company should invest.

    Forrester Research offers a great resource called Consumer Technographics. They highlight usage by demographic on different social mediums. It’s a free service for the basics.

  • Hey,
    I agree with what Megan had said. If Facebook is the tool our customers are using then we have do our marketing there and otherwise its of no use spending so much money on social media marketing.

  • It is surprising to me that as companies adopt social media – 65% of Fortune 500 and 80% + of Inc 500 companies are active in social media – monitoring of these conversations is lagging so far behind. These conversations are a goldmine of information. They contain the keys to your content strategy. Just jumping in the deep end with no idea what game you are playing is not productive or effective.

    A social media strategy requires 10 steps –

    1. Listen to the conversations
    2. Analyze the content and look for opportunities and threats
    3. Set goals and define metrics
    4. Define your tribe
    5. Identify influencers in your space
    6. Develop a content strategy
    7. Pick the right tools and platforms
    8. Deliver and distribute the content
    9 Engage and facility conversations
    10, Measure results.

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