How much does social media matter

B to B Magazine and recently conducted a survey of 464 b-to-b marketers to determine how they are using social media in conjunction with search and to see if there is a measurable impact one has on the other. The survey basically confirmed what a lot of you already suspect. We are all spending a lot more on Internet marketing and not surprisingly 29% of marketers plan to spend more on social media this year with around 30% devoting in excess of 10% of their marketing budget to social media alone.

When people discuss social media and ROI my brain automatically defaults to sales and marketing when in reality social media offers much more including supporting the sales effort through branding and customer service by providing more channels through which your customers can reach you which in turn allows you to address their concerns more quickly. The survey numbers confirm this with 81% of respondents using social media to build brand awareness, 77% to increase traffic to their web site, and 67% to provide deeper engagement with their customers. The 67% is much higher than I would have guessed.  

As with any medium the proof is in the results which are;  35% of the respondents have seen improved organic search rankings, 24% additional referrals, and 15% increased clicks on ppc ad word campaigns. This also seems to confirm a paradigm shift in SEO from the sheer volume and quality of links to links and relevant content.In summary, blogs and social media can increase exposure, improve customer service, and improve search rankings. Relevant content is as important as relevant links.

And in the ancient words of Heraclitus “the only constant in any of this is change”.