42% of Aussie businesses plan to increase Social Media investment in 2011

Almost half of Australian businesses surveyed in the 2nd Nielsen-Community Engine Social Media Business Benchmarking Study plan to increase investment in the coming year. This increase is being driven by a stronger conviction of the need to be in this channel (66%) and also its targeting (50%) and ROI (40%) benefits.

Nielsen-Community-Engine-2011 StudyOther highlights from the study:

  • Top uses for SM – 50% Marketing and 30% each for CRM, Customer Service and Public Relations.
  • Budget is primarily spent on display advertising on social networks or maintaining Facebook presence (21% each)
  • Popular social media activities engaged in – maintaining a presence on social networks (28%) followed by tracking/monitoring (26%), responding to comments (25%)
  • Public Sector lags private sector with 51% respondents believing it lacks internal knowledge and expertise to undertake SM activities

In summary, it’s refreshing that businesses have moved past the stage of questioning the ROI and value of social media investments. Many businesses (31%) have reported strong or reasonable ROI returns in 2010. For Australian businesses the challenge continues to be resources – only 8% have full-time staff.

Businesses will eventually need to set up Social Media departments with separate budgets, KPI’s and staff and integrate their efforts with all other paid and owned media. Only then will businesses become more responsive and interactive like their US counterparts. In short, it’s time to go beyond the current ‘create and forget’ a Facebook presence approach.