This blog has extensively reported on the benefits of using social media in small business internet marketing campaigns. But, until recently, those benefits have been more or less anecdotal in their evidence. McKinsey & Company, a major international consulting agency, has published a report that goes into detail on exactly why businesses of all shapes and sizes should be conducting targeted internet marketing efforts through social media platforms.

According to McKinsey's report, titled "The social economy: Unlocking value and productivity through social technologies," there are 1.5 billion social networkers in the world and 80 percent of individuals online regularly interact on social networks. In addition 70 percent of all companies use social networking technologies and 90 percent of those businesses have reported some business benefits from their use.

In addition, the source states that there is roughly $900 billion to $1.3 trillion in annual value that could be unlocked by social media in all four market sectors. The report breaks it down to $345 billion for product development and operations, $500 billion from marketing, sales and after-sales and then $230 billion from improvements in business support activities.

It's clear that for all businesses, developing an effective internet marketing campaign involving social network avenues can be critical their success.

"Companies that rely heavily on consumer insights for product development and marketing purposes have an opportunity to create value by engaging with consumers on social media and monitoring social media conversations to generate consumer insights and market intelligence," said the report. "This value is predicated not on use of social technologies alone, but on creative, thoughtful, and well-executed strategies that may incorporate other channels."

In order to develop these creative and well-executed strategies for targeted internet marketing that tap into a wealth of potential customers via platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, companies should partner with experienced internet advertising agencies.