Social media may have become an important tool for digital marketing, but according to a new study from the Acquity Group the customer engagement process needs be reevaluated.

It's All About How You Engage

A digital marketing company and e-commerce solution, Acquity Group’s report, the "Brand Commerce Audit 2012" is composed of data from 50 different brands that were defined as Interbrand's Best Retail Brands for 2012. With this information, Acquity looked at customer engagement over desktop browser, social and mobile channels.

The social network channels that were studied were Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and YouTube, while the brands include: Target, RadioShack, Bath and Body Works, eBay and American Eagle Outfitters.

The Twitter Experience

Over the past few years, Twitter has become a formidable tool for marketers through its interactive, real-time, yet compact platform. Marketers can easily see trending topics and search keywords and hashtags to see what users are saying about their company, its products or the competition. Twitter has also been adapting its platform so it can be a more efficient marketing tool by adding such features as search targeting for promoted tweets and a certified products program.

Based on concluding data, Twitter isn't the marketing tool it could be. The report found that despite the amount of tools and products designed to increase a company's social marketing presence on Twitter, engagement statistics were low. While 45 out of the 50 brands mentioned in the audit said they had a Twitter account, only 27 percent, or 13, of those brands use it a conversational tool to interact with customers.

What About the Other Platforms?

While engagement over Twitter is a problem for some, most of the other social networks have been more successful.

All but one of the companies in the report have a Facebook page, while 80 percent have a YouTube page and 85 percent of those who use YouTube, do so regularly. Despite being relatively new, Pinterest is proving to be a good marketing tool with a 60 percent adoption rate and 70 percent engagement rate.

Although it’s popular photography app, Instagram's isn't as profitable as Pinterest, Facebook and YouTube. Less than half of the brands in the report use it, but despite this 70 percent those who do use it on a regular basis to interact with fans and customers.

While there are some promising numbers, only about a third of the brands from the report use all five social media platforms.

The Problem and the Solution

According to Acquity, while many of the brands mentioned have one or two social media accounts, they don’t understand how these tools can help them. From the audit’s results and knowing that customer engagement is key, Acquity says that in order for brands to be successful digital marketers they have use all of the social platforms provided, but understand what these tools can do for them before doing so.