In case you haven't noticed, marketing on social media has skyrocketed in recent years. According to a recent survey, 10.6 percent of company marketing budgets are allocated to social--with an anticipated leap to 20.9 percent by 2021.

But is your company handling social marketing as well as it could? That same survey showed that 47.9 percent of marketers don't yet know how to show the return on investment for social media. Likewise, confidence in the integration between social media marketing and the overall company strategy is at a staggering low point.

When departments within a company are in disconnected silos, you lose the true value of social engagement. You miss the opportunity to learn nuances about your customers that could inform and improve conversions along the entire customer journey.

However, when these disparate departments work together as a more cohesive whole, your social media marketing can inform every aspect of your sales funnel--leading to some of the best business your company has ever done.

A Full Brand Experience

At the end of the day, the customer only sees one brand, no matter what's going on behind the scenes. And as unhappy customers are overwhelmingly more vocal than satisfied ones, properly integrating your whole company into the social media landscape is essential to keeping a positive brand image alive.

Pinterest is a great example of a platform that's utilizing social to win sales with a unified vision. Once it debuted the "buy button" and visual search tools, the potential purchasing desires of users could convert directly into sales for brands. Now, large retailers and small craft makers alike can catch the buyer right when it matters most--at the moment of delightful discovery.

If you're looking to successfully blend the realms of social, communications, and purchasing, try these tips with your team:

1. Craft a seamless digital experience. Link social posts to your website or campaign landing page and vice versa. These integrations will help you track users throughout their journey, allowing you to know what kind of content to push to similar audiences based on conversions.

Users dislike having to bounce between social apps and browsers, so having content and conversion opportunities in the original social app is vital. And if you're bringing users to your website, reward them with engaging content or gamification opportunities to keep them on your page longer.

2. Go with video. Compared to catchy hashtags or beautiful imagery, nothing tells a story quite like video. It outperforms other social content in terms of engagement. More can be said in less time, which is vital when a dozen other posts are fighting for users' attention. As social platforms continue to make way for video, it's in your company's best interest to invest.

There are some production and boosting costs to create high-quality content, but the shareability of a powerful video can take the message further than a brand's social media reach.

3. Invest in analytics. It's not enough to know how well your post is performing if it's detached from sales goals. Learn how to use relevant listening, research, and analytical tools to gauge your brand's success at converting browsers into buyers.

Shell out the extra dough on powerful and informative strategic data such as that captured by Synthesio or Crimson Hexagon. These programs can help spark creative ideas and alert you of poor customer service before light chatter becomes an outcry.

To many companies, social media can still feel like that shiny new toy that came without the instruction manual. But with enough investment and the proper implementation across the business as a whole--not just one department--that toy can become a tool for exponential success.

This article was co-authored by Chloe Lopez, social media manager at Gravity.

Published on: Jun 13, 2016
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.