While best practices for social media marketing continue to evolve, more than 80 percent of executives use social and plan to maintain or increase their investment moving forward.

CMOs do not believe they are adequately using social media marketing despite increased investment, a report from Weber Shandwick and Forbes suggests. The study found that 84 percent of executives do not believe their social use is up to global standards despite the widespread adoption of social media marketing.

For marketers looking to fine-tune their strategies, Weber, Shandwick and Forbes reports that executives have dentified some best practices. Using social to interact with prospects is critical, the study found. Speaking directly to prospects improves a brand’s accessibility and allows them to identify common issues that can be addressed to improve sales and customer retention.

The report suggests content development was also named as an important focus area moving forward. Effective content marketing helps “heighten the interactive experience” for social fans. It also helps businesses improve their rankings on search results, while also helping develop their standing as a thought leader in their niche.

“All too often, brand managers clamor for the latest and greatest application and new technology, bypassing the need for clear business objectives, a true social orientation and programs that deliver real value to brand communities,” Chris Perry, president of Digital Communications for Weber Shandwick.

While social media marketing best practices evolve, investment in the channel continues to grow. Brafton recently reported on a similar study that found 84 percent of companies plan to spend more on social media marketing moving forward.

Joe Meloni is Brafton's former Executive News and Content Writer. He studied journalism at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and has written for a number of print and web-based publications.