A year ago, digital marketers confirmed their belief in the value of social media marketing. Three of the top five areas where marketers planned to increase their spending involved social outlets.

In our 2016 State of Marketing Report, we surveyed nearly 4,000 marketers to find out how the investments paid. Turns out, it was money very well spent.

The link between social marketing and revenue increased 3x over the last year, with nearly half (48%) of marketers reporting that social media marketing is directly linked to their business' primary revenue source. Now, 82% of marketers agree that social media marketing is core to their business and 72% of respondents report that social is currently generating ROI.

Great Social Media Marketing Starts with Listening

To provide the best analysis, data from the 2016 State of Marketing Report is examined relative to business performance to identify patterns for overall success. High-performing marketing teams are those that who are extremely satisfied with the current outcomes realized as a direct result of their company's investment. Data is also presented for moderate performers (very or moderately satisfied), as well as underperformers (slightly or not at all satisfied).

When it comes to social media marketing, social listening has proven key to success. Top teams use social listening to better understand their audiences and the market. In fact, high performing marketers are 8.6x more likely than underperformers to use social listening tools extensively.

The Best Social Media Marketers Are Proactive

Social provides an open platform for two way communication between businesses and customers that's hard to replicate elsewhere. Social channels give marketers a forum to build digital rapport on a highly personalized scale - one retweet, like, and comment at a time.

Top marketing teams understand the need for real-time communication and engagement on social channels. The most successful marketers excel at replying in a timely manner across all social networks.

Top Social Media Marketers Break Free from Silos

The best social media marketers don't operate in a vacuum. Top teams are also 1.7x more likely than underperformers to align their social media marketing strategy with other social activities such as customer service. This alignment is critical to delivering a seamless customer experience, and exhibits the cross-company mindset that's more common among high performers.

Learn More Social Media Marketing Trends

Interested in learning more? Join us for a live webinar on June 7 at 12:00 EST. We'll cover more trends in social marketing, as well as customer journeys, email, mobile, digital advertising and the web. Register now.