INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — Reno-Tahoe businesses who use social media for marketing devote an average of more than eight hours a week online to manage their campaigns, finds a survey of 99 marketing professionals in the region.The survey was conducted by Milena Regos, founder of Incline Village-based Outandamp;About Marketing, with the help of other marketing agencies in the region.Participating companies included companies ranging from ski resort operators to retailers to public relations agencies.About 88 percent of them said they are using social media as a marketing tool, and the survey found they are generally more experienced with social marketing than people elsewhere in the country.More than 25 percent of the survey respondents said they’ve been using social media as a marketing tool for two to three years. That compares with a national figure of 16 percent. The biggest challenges they find with the use of social media are time and measurement of results.Nearly 57 percent of the respondents said they struggle to find enough time to manage social media campaigns. A majority said they’re spending at least eight hours a week with social media, and more than 14 percent said they are spending 20 hours a week or more.More than 70 percent of the companies that responded said they’ve assigned at least one fulltime worker — in some instances, four or more workers — to manage social media.Half said that they struggle to prove the value of social media or measure its effectiveness.But more than 90 percent said they believe tools such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and blogs build brand awareness and help their companies connect with new customers.Few said that social media reduces marketing costs or helps get products into the marketplace more quickly.Eighty percent of the respondents said their companies expect to increase their spending on social media next year. The dollars for that expansion will come from projected reductions in magazine, newspaper and direct mail advertising, the respondents said.The most commonly used tools for tracking the effectiveness of social media, the survey found, are reach (number of Facebook fans, for instance) and resonance, as reflected in items that are shared or Retweeted.Revenue generated through social media is an important tracking tool for 22 percent of the companies that responded to the survey.The full survey is available for download at www.outandaboutmarketing.com.
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