A report from IBM found that many CMOs believe their companies are not being aggressive enough in tracking social conversations about their brand.

In a global survey of more than 1,700 chief marketing officers, IBM found that the overwhelming majority are struggling to keep pace with web and social media activity related to their brands.

Eighty-percent said they plan to increase social media marketing steadily in the next five years. This investment in social will certainly help them better track conversations. The survey found that just 26 percent currently track industry blogs, 42 percent read third-party reviews and less than half (48 percent) use consumer conversations to guide strategy.

While these numbers are increasing, IBM reports that CMOs and other marketing decision-makers now understand the need to boost social media marketing campaigns. Beyond attracting new prospects, businesses plan to use Facebook, Twitter and other social networks to manage customer relationships and foster loyalty.

“The inflection point created by social media represents a permanent change in the nature of customer relationships,” said Carolyn Heller Baird, CRM research lead for the IBM Institute for Business Value and the global director of the study. “Approximately 90 percent of all the real-time information being created today is unstructured data. CMOs who successfully harness this new source of insight will be in a strong position to increase revenues, reinvent their customer relationships and build new brand value.”

Monitoring social mentions can help businesses direct their marketing initiatives. Frequently, users will turn to social networks to ask friends and other contacts for information regarding a certain product or business. Gauging the frequency of certain questions can help companies make decisions regarding the information they plan to include in future campaigns.

Brafton reported last month that content marketing campaigns can help companies appeal to their prospects better. By developing original news marketing content, businesses can provide insight to the questions prosects raise on social media, while improving search ranking and the overall effectiveness of their website.

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.