Gartner reported that 36 percent of businesses using social media marketing do so to improve their customer engagement capability.

While conducting a webinar on social media marketing strategies, market research firm Gartner polled viewers and found 36 percent believe prospect engagement is the No. 1 reason for using social media marketing.

Among more than 150 respondents, an additional 30 percent say social marketing is used to boost brand awareness, making expanded business reach the second-leading goal of social marketing campaigns.

In terms of social strategy development, 28 percent of 142 respondents said they are still experimenting with social in hopes of finding the right mix. Only 7 percent of respondents answered that they were “old pros with social media,” according to Gartner. This finding speaks to Brafton’s previous report that 84 percent of CMOs say their social strategies are not yet up to standard, and investment in the channel is rising to overcome strategic weaknesses.

As businesses determine how to plan more effective social campaigns, they’ll need to determine who should manage the initiatives. According to the Gartner poll results, 35 percent of respondents say their marketing department handles social, while 27 percent said multiple groups manage their accounts and campaigns.

One element of social media marketing that often goes overlooked is the opportunity it provides businesses to respond to negative feedback. Brafton reported that 80 percent of web users have made purchase decisions based on a negative comment or review posted on a social platform. Failing to respond to less-positive (or downright bad) comments can have a negative impact on businesses.

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.