A recent article in “PR Week” magazine outlined the importance of social networking use among companies, in terms of various uses of social media tools, and the influence that customer feedback has on business strategies and products. The report was centered on the magazine’s 2009 Social Media Survey.
According to the article written by Kimberly Maul, most companies turn to social networking as their social media marketing tool of choice. One of the most striking statistics from the article is that 37 percent of companies do not use social media tools as a way to market to consumers. This is a significant portion of businesses. While some non-participating companies may have made the choice after studying customers’ social technographics profiles, this still leaves many companies out of the social media sphere for other reasons.
It is interesting to think about the reasons why companies choose to stay out of the social media sphere. Statistics from the study report that 53 percent of corporations say that a “lack of international resources and time” is their biggest barrier to becoming involved with social media. 43 percent chose lack of knowledge and expertise.
Smaller companies may not be able to devote the time to Tweet 200 times a day like General Motors did in June, but posting several Tweets a day and one blog post several times a week is more effective than no social media presence at all.
Upon searching my name in Google search at the beginning of the iMedia program; my name did not appear until the fifth or sixth page. Now after using Twitter and blogging frequently, valid links to my name appear on the first search results page. Building an online presence is crucial—especially for businesses with customers that spend a lot of time online.
Maul reported that 59 percent of companies said that no specific funding was set aside for social media interactions. While many companies may be aware of social media tools, they are not taking advantage of those tools. There are some businesses that may be reluctant to spend money due to the difficulty in proving any Return on Investment (ROI). While ROI may not be easy to measure, any amount of customer response through social media is a sign that company efforts are not going unnoticed.
Ford’s digital and multimedia communications manager Scott Monty has the right idea: “Our social media strategy is pretty simple. It is essentially to humanize the company by connecting our constituents with our employees and with each other when possible, to provide value along the way.”
Companies must relinquish some control when moving to social media platforms, understanding that while all feedback on the sites may not be positive, there is ultimately value in engaging in this form of two-way communication with customers.
Read the full article here.