Strengthening relationship with customers is the top reason for investing in social media, Gartner said.
The research firm said its social media surveys performed year after year continually points to the increasing customer focus of most businesses as the primary driver for social media investments.
Other reasons cited include enhancing brand awareness and brand preference, sharing information and ideas with customers, establishing an interactive relationship with customers, and increasing corporate revenues.
Gartner said this shows that investing in social media falls under the marketing umbrella, which many companies hope to convert to actual business benefit such as added revenue.
“While investments and growth in social marketing is assured during the next two years, the ultimate success of social will depend on how well marketers can accelerate through the inevitable social expectation bust and make social marketing projects more than just 'engagement' objectives and actually tie social activities to clear and measurable business objectives,” said Adam Sarner, Research Director at Gartner, in a blog post.
“Far too many companies are still following the hype of 'social' and have created or participated in social media without a plan,” he added.
Sarner said enterprises must tie social project objectives to marketing and corporate strategy.
“Social metrics, such as the number of fans, likes, number of weekly tweets, and even areas such as sentiment analysis are not enough to correlate with the contribution of top business objectives, such as churn rate, new qualified leads or revenue increases,” he explained.
“For example, if the corporate goal is to decrease customer churn by 5%, then explore how a social marketing initiative such as strengthen relationship with customers will support that corporate goal, and how the results will be measured," he emphasized.