A huge number of marketers are using social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter; Forrester Research forecasts that U.S. marketers alone will spend $4.8 billion on social marketing tactics in 2013.

Marketers throughout the world will add billions more to that figure, the firm says. And recent Forrester data shows that 60 percent of marketers will increase their social budgets this year, many by a significant amount.

Despite all the hype surrounding social media, many (68 percent) of marketers recently surveyed say the channel does not offer enough return investment (ROI), and measurement challenges often create obstacles to delivering value.

"The sobering reality is that nearly a decade into the era of social media, more social marketers are failing than succeeding," according to Nate Elliott, Forrester vice president and principal analyst, and author of the research report, “Integrate Social Into Your Marketing RaDaR.”

The study says "social exceptionalism" can be pinpointed as the problem. Rather than recognizing that social media as just another marketing channel, the report says many marketers see it as unique and keep it completely separate from other marketing efforts.

To succeed with social media, Forrester suggests marketers need to understand how it supports each part of the customer journey – not just offering engagement, but also enabling discovery and supporting exploration and purchase with social, what the firm calls social reach, social depth and social relationships.

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