Over the last year social media has played a major role in many marketing campaigns. A new report from the Royal Bank of Scotland suggests that almost nine out of ten medium to large-sized businesses in the UK will maintain or spend more on their social media budget for 2012.

The Royal Bank of Scotland polled more than 200 finance directors, CEOs, CFOs, COOs, managers, and treasurers during October 2011. The survey found that 87 percent of companies with a turnover of $40 million or more valued social media as a cost-effective communications tool.

The most interesting result is that while 90 percent of the businesses polled plan to budget less than a 5 percent rise in advertising dollars – or freeze their budgets entirely – they will continue to invest in social media. A quarter of businesses surveyed admitted to increasing social media spending because it had resulted in a positive impact on the brand in 2011.

Not everyone has a clear social media strategy, as 39 percent admitted they are increasing budgets just to keep up with industry trends and/or competitor activity. Of the 13 percent looking to cut social media spending in 2012, 54 percent are doing so because of budget restrictions and only 27 percent are doing so due to a lack of return on investment.

Budgets for 2012 are likely set in place and if your business has maintained or increased spending for social media, now is the time to take advantage of the social media management tools available to you and create a solid strategy. If you had to cut spending, it’s worth examining which practices you utilized over the last year and focus your efforts on just one platform – such as Twitter, Facebook, or Google+.

[Via: AllTwitter, Image credit: Michael Glasgow]