A recent YouGov study which focused on UK marketers' social media practices found that more than half (64%) are currently using some form of social media to promote their companies, while only 22% are yet using social media to gather sales lead data, according to marketing systems provider Eloqua. This article is copyright 2012 The Best Customer Guide.

As social networks continue to grow and expand, marketers clearly recognise that the social channel has become a key part of the marketing mix. When marketers were asked how their companies currently use social media, 83% say they use it to help create company and brand awareness. But only 22% actually use social media to capture information about leads.

The study also found that, among those who use social media, less than half (35%) admitted to incorporating any kind of social messaging into their demand generation activities. When asked why social media was not included, 43% admitted to having no strategy in place for integrating social media, and 33% said they were unsure about when they would incorporate a social aspect into their demand generation campaigns.

"A lack of clear strategy surrounding social media and demand generation is holding companies back," explained Heidi Melin, CMO for Eloqua. "Marketers still feel the pressure to 'go social' and improve awareness across social channels but, for those involved in lead generation, integrating social into the process remains something of a mystery. While UK marketers may be missing an opportunity today, the good news is that there are now tools and technologies available to help them socially engage with prospects at each step of the buyer's journey."

Marketers focused on lead generation are finding an ever-increasing number of solutions designed to integrate social media into demand generation campaigns. For example, 'social sign-on', which allows visitors to complete a form registration faster while also giving marketers permission-based access to social data they can append to their database, is catching on quickly. Additionally, tools to measure social media responses are becoming essential as marketers seek to measure their social media campaigns' effectiveness and see exactly how social is driving both demand and revenue growth.