The top reason for businesses investing in social media is once again for improving customer relationships, according to Gartner’s social media survey.

This is a significant finding for marketing organisations because it shows that the top five reasons for investing in social media for companies are certainly under marketing’s purview.

Gartner’s social media survey is performed year after year. The top reasons for investing in social media are the following:

* Strengthen relationship with customer;

* Enhance brand awareness or brand preference;

* Share information and ideas with customers, suppliers and partners;

* Establish interactive relationship with customers; and

* Increase the organisation’s revenue through new products and customers.

Adam Sarner, research director of Gartner, blogs that these findings are significant because specific marketing purposes and use cases can ultimately be connected to an actual business benefit: revenue from customers.

While investments and growth in social marketing is assured during the next two years, he says, the ultimate success of social will depend on how well marketers can accelerate through the inevitable social expectation bust and make social marketing projects more than just “engagement” objectives and actually tie social activities to clear and measurable business objectives.

“Far too many companies are still following the hype of ‘social’ and have created or participated in social media without a plan,” he writes.

“There are many challenges or barriers to the adoption of social.”