A research study surveying 900 marketers attending the upcoming Social Media Success Summit 2009 shows that marketers are heavily invested in social media, to the tune of 88 percent using at least one social outlet.
What is a little surprising is that when asked to rate their experience level using social media marketing for their businesses, 72% of marketers say they have either just started or have been using social media for only a few months.
According to the survey, respondents report that the #1 benefit of social media marketing is gaining attention for the business. The majority of marketers say they have undertaken social media activities for this reason and they appear to be paying off: Some 81% of all marketers indicate that their social media efforts have generated exposure for their businesses. Improving traffic and growing lists was the second major benefit, followed by building new partnerships.
(Graphic from "How Marketers are Using Social Media to Grow their Businesses" )
The study also found more than half of participants reported that a major benefit of social media marketing is the resultant rise in search engine rankings that often comes with increased efforts. Improved search engine rankings were most prevalent among those who've been using social media for years, with nearly 80% reporting a rise.
According to the study, the top social sites in use by marketers are Twitter, blogs, LinkedIn, and Facebook, in that order. This suggests that long-standing rumors are true, that Twitter is flooded with marketers marketing to other marketers. While there are plenty of "normal" users out there, this is something to keep in mind when developing a Twitter strategy.
When marketers were asked which social media tools they most want to learn more about, social bookmarking sites slightly edged out Twitter as the #1 response. A four-way tie for third place occurred between LinkedIn, StumbleUpon, Facebook and Digg/Reddit/Mixx.
For more information, check out the study, "How Marketers are Using Social Media to Grow their Businesses"