This year's State of Search Marketing Report from Econsultancy and SEMPO reveals that marketers are increasingly investing in social media marketing.

According to the State of Search Marketing Report from Econsultancy and the Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization, 74 percent of companies employ social media marketing to promote their brands. Internet marketers should take this as their cue that social marketing is a competitive must.

The use of social media marketing showed 2 percent year-over-year gains, while other types of marketing activities showed declines. Facebook marketing, in particular, is gaining rapid adoption. As Econsultancy reports, the survey shows that 84 percent of companies have Facebook campaigns in place, up from 73 percent last year.

One way that marketers are using social media is by running ad campaigns across platforms. Fifteen percent run paid search campaigns on Twitter, 27 percent have PPC campaigns for LinkedIn and 47 percent run PPC campaigns on Facebook. (This supports Brafton's earlier reports that Facebook ads are fueling major revenue growth for the social giant.)

It seems marketers are also using social media marketing to support their content and boost search performance. More than half of respondents say social marketing has had “a significant impact” on their SEM. This finding supports Matt Cutts' declaration that social media enhances SEO.

Notably, marketers are increasingly outsourcing their social media marketing. The study found that the number of companies that keep their social media marketing in-house has dropped from about 62 percent one year ago to around half of respondents. This mirrors a finding from the Social Media Examiner's recent Social Media Marketing Industry Report, which – as Brafton reported -says that nearly two-thirds of seasoned social marketers are turning to social experts to maximize their social marketing results. Competitive brands, take note.

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.