Brands stand to gain more influence and increase their bottom line by getting consumers to engage with them online, according to a white paper published by Syncapse Corp., providers of software for enterprise social media management.

The white paper, entitled Increasing Campaign Effectiveness with Social Media, is based on online panel research conducted in February 2011, shows that social media is increasingly pulling mindshare away from traditional advertising outlets.

In particular the study identified on key target audience for marketers, the social media producers. The research found that a single recommendation from these influencers can generate about US$23 in earned media value – a key ROI indicator.

Other key findings include:

  • 43% of consumers watch television and surf Facebook at the same time.
  • 40% of respondents say a positive recommendation on Facebook would make a difference in their purchasing decisions; 60 % say the same about blogs.
  • Producers spend nearly 20% more on the brands they recognise.

My take? These findings underline what most of us already know: social networks like Facebook and Twitter present a phenomenal opportunity for brand owners. But the key to success is not rooted in the traditional advertising paradigm; it’s to take a leaf out of PR’s book and interact with with individuals among our target audiences to gain their trust.