Social media marketing has become a competitive necessity, and results from Nielsen's Social Media Report further demonstrate that.

Social media accounts for more time spent on the web than any other activity, Nielsen’s Social Media Report Q3 2011 suggests. Eighty percent of active web users regularly visit social networks or blogs.

Mobile access to social media content has grown substantially in 2011, as on-the-go consumers increasingly use their devices to access social networks. Nielsen found that 30 percent of smartphone users accessed social applications in during the third quarter of 2010.

Nielsen reported that social media applications are the third-most popular among American smartphone owners, with 47 percent using social apps regularly. Some of the most common reasons smartphone owners use social applications include checking friends’ activity, catching up on the news and accessing other websites.

Since keeping up with the news is a top mobile social activity, sharing headlines of news content marketing articles on social channels can improve the visibility of website stories and provide additional opportunities for prospect engagement. Moreover, Brafton has reported that industry experts have urged businesses to use social and content marketing together. Developing original articles maintains a website’s dynamism and also keeps social media pages active and interesting to existing and potential prospects. The value of inbound links also lends an additonal layer of SEO benefits to social campaigns.

Brafton reported on Monday that 73 percent of companies currently use social media marketing. Among the main benefits these organizations have seen is the ability to communicate with prospects on multiple levels and reach new audience.

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.