Social media, with all of its hype and ever-evolving tools, pundits, practices, and promises, is a fragmented and complex topic viewable as both a blessing and a curse. Whether you like it or not, social media is here to stay.

In order to find out what marketers and other businesses were thinking about this phenomenon, R2integrated (R2i) surveyed 262 professionals from several leading industries from March 26 to April 5.

The data we compiled suggests that the majority of marketing professionals and company decision makers view social media as essential to their business, but most have not made any money using it, and most are still learning how to use it. Likewise, many marketers are not familiar with social media thought leaders or industry books.

Key Survey Findings:

• Fifty-four percent of marketers thought social media was “innovative and invaluable to their business,” and 37 percent thought “useful and helpful, but could live without it.” Sixty-five percent of respondents, however, said that their companies have not increased revenue or profited using social media.

• Fifty-three percent of respondents stated they were “still learning” or “behind the curve” compared to 44 percent who stated “efficient” or “expert.” Forty-four percent of respondents “don't know much about” location-based social networks like Foursquare. And when asked if there was such a thing as social media expert, 40 percent of respondents said “yes, a couple,” 32 percent said “yes, lots,” while “no, not really” and “hard to tell” combined for 27 percent.

• Most respondents (80 percent) have heard of Lady Gaga, the music celebrity known to engage her fans via Twitter from backstage; 60 percent have heard of Seth Godin; 50 percent have heard of Guy Kawasaki; 36 percent have heard of Chris Brogan; 17 percent have heard of Pete Cashmore; and 16 percent have heard of Shel Israel.

• Have they read: Twitterville, 10 percent said yes, 90 percent said no; Free,  nine percent yes, 91 percent no; Trust Agents, nine percent yes,  91 percent no; Reality Check, six percent yes, 94 percent no; The New Community Rules, six percent yes, 94 percent no.

In addition to these findings, there were other trends between certain populations of respondents. For instance, those who responded that their company had profited or increased revenues from social media were about twice as likely to have a formal strategy; about twice as likely to rate themselves as “proficient” or “expert”; almost twice as likely to have a dedicated headcount for managing social media; and almost three times as likely to have read a book on social media.