April 10, 2012, 12:33 PM

Marketers want to build brands via social media

But only a third weave social into their long-term plans.

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Online social networks such as Facebook and Twitter are key to building brands, according to 76% of respondents in a December survey of 101 marketing executives conducted by a Forrester Research Inc. The survey was commissioned by Facebook Inc. (The percentages are rounded, and Forrester did not immediately say if the 76% referred to 76 or 77 respondents. The report also does not specify how many respondents come from retailers.)

71% of the respondents say that by leveraging social media they can gain a competitive advantage.  But only 33% of the respondents have started weaving social into their businesses’ long-term plans. In part, that’s because social media responsibilities are often decentralized within companies because social can span a number of work areas, including marketing, corporate communications, customer service and information technology, the report says. And such divisions don’t always result in all coworkers knowing what their colleagues are doing with social.

Even so, 54% of respondents say that their marketing organization has fully integrated social media into their work, and 38% say that they have equipped and trained all of their employees to actively use social media. Cracking the social media code will likely prove important, at least according to the survey respondents, because 59% of marketers say that companies that don’t figure out how to embrace social media will ultimately fail.

Brian Walker, Forrester’s vice president and principal analyst, e-business and channel strategy, will speak at the Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition 2012 in a session entitled “Leveraging a commerce platform in the era of the anywhere, anytime, any device consumer.

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