Although social media marketing is popular amongst marketers, with 80% of companies with at least 100 employees using social networks for marketing this year, it’s still not a top strategic priority.

Jive Software and Penn, Schoen & Berland, in a survey of executives who have final say or significant input on social business strategy, found that only 27% listed social business as a top strategic priority. Nearly half (47%) admitted a social plan was necessary but not a strategic priority and 19% said social business strategy was simply not necessary.

The conundrum, although 78% of executives thought a social business strategy was somewhat or very important to the future success of their business and 53% believe they must adopt social or risk falling behind; at this time, social media marketing is just not a top priority.

Comparing the top initiatives, a separate survey by Forbes Insights and Coremetrics indicated that social media marketing was a top priority for a mere 11% of marketing executives, taking a backseat to most traditional marketing initiatives including customer loyalty (52%), branding (28%), direct marketing (19%), on-line marketing (18%), and even print and broadcast (17%).

The Bottom Line

The numbers indicate that to make social more of a priority, marketers must prove the value to frugal and skeptical senior executives. Tying social investments to tangible business benefits and competitive advantage can help raise the priority, and assure that budgets are properly allocated to social initiatives.

Sources:

More information about the Jive Social Business Index Survey can be found at: http://www.jivesoftware.com/news/releases/2011/6/new-jive-study-unveils-social-business-is-top-executive-strategic-imperative

More information about the Bringing 20/20 Foresight to Marketing study can be found at: http://www.forbes.com/forbesinsights/bringing_foresight_to_marketing/index.html