The Social Media Marketing Report 2011, presented by the Social Media Examiner, indicates that marketers who invest in social content are reaping the rewards of new leads and business partnerships.

The Social Media Marketing Report 2011, presented by the Social Media Examiner, indicates that marketers who invest in social content are reaping the rewards of new leads and business partnerships. The survey asked more than 3,000 marketers about the impact of social marketing, and CMOs may be happy to learn that improved sales were a commonly cited benefit.

Nearly three-quarters of marketers who have been using social media for around three years (72 percent) say that their social efforts have helped them close business deals. Increased sales were also a benefit for more than half of marketers who spend 11 or more hours per week on social marketing.

While many social sites are deemed B2C-friendly, B2B brands will be pleased to learn that new business partnerships are a common result of social marketing. Sixty-one percent of marketers selling to other businesses (and 51 percent of marketers selling to consumers) cited business partnerships as a social media marketing boon.

Social Media Examiner found a correlation between the time spent on social marketing and business partnerships. Still, nearly half of marketers with less than a year of social outreach (45 percent) reported gaining new partnerships.

Sales aside, marketers agree that social media is a valuable forum for finding qualified leads. More than half of marketers (52 percent) say they see lead gen benefits from their social efforts, even if they spend as little as six hours per week on social media.

Social media marketing is poised to be a top priority for brands this year, not only as a channel to bring in leads and sales, but also as a means of boosting other internet marketing efforts. As Brafton has reported, this same study shows that social marketing boosts search and traffic, and Google's Matt Cutts has repeatedly advocated the use of social marketing to boost SEO efforts.

Katherine Griwert

Katherine Griwert is Brafton's Marketing Director. She's practiced content marketing, SEO and social marketing for over five years, and her enthusiasm for new media has even deeper roots. Katherine holds a degree in American Studies from Boston College, and her writing is featured in a number of web publications.