NEW YORK: Social media marketing techniques are becoming increasingly sophisticated, but obstacles tied to in-house collaboration, securing management support and proving payback remain.

Booz & Company, the consultancy, partnered with Buddy Media, the social software provider, to poll 117 leading executives regarding their evolving social media tactics.

Overall, 96% of featured firms are developing a specific strategy for this channel and 95% expected to heighten the resources allocated to such activities in future. However, 89% commit less than 10% of budgets to social media at present.

An additional 78% believed their initiatives on these properties thus far have enhanced marketing effectiveness, and 64% now boast a dedicated team covering this discipline.

Elsewhere, 60% of respondents reported that social platforms were among their top marketing priorities for 2012, although only 40% suggested this area was on their CEO's agenda.

Today, 96% of organisations use social media to augment their advertising and 65% plan to integrate this channel across all communications output. In keeping with this, 81% charge their marketing departments with handling social media.

Currently a "big three" is dominating the category, the study added: Facebook, with a 94% corporate uptake, ahead of Twitter on 77% and YouTube on 42%.

Among the core benefits they offer is brand building, mentioned by 90% of those polled, ahead of generating buzz on 88% and yielding consumer insights on 81%.

However, for 57% of interviewees, there was not enough cross-departmental collaboration to get the best from social channels , while 55% did not have sufficient resources to run and engage communities.

A further 51% of the sample pointed to a lack of buy-in at the highest level of management, 48% believed proving ROI was difficult, and 43% reported social media was not yet core to their strategy.

Some 49% of companies currently have creative talent working in-house on social media, and 35% want to expand their content teams. For this latter group, 72% are emphasising staff like producers and editors.

Just 50% of firms had developed social media-focused key performance indicators, but 47% were working on them. Most companies are seeking a balance between meeting campaign objectives, cited by 90%, and business goals, on 60%, the study said.

Data sourced from Booz & Company; additional content by Warc staff