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Study finds social media for businesses is more than just marketing

19 Sep 2018

Social media is not an afterthought for businesses that know how to use it – in fact, it can bring benefits including community engagement, client support, and market insights.

That’s according to a recent global study by social media management firm Hootsuite, which analysed 9000 responses across 19 countries. In Asia Pacific, the report was fielded to 785 respondents across Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines and Hong Kong; to examine how organisations manage social, what they do on social—and the main challenges they face.

The Social Media Barometer Report found that 90% of respondents think social media is important for staying competitive, and 62% say it has moved beyond a company’s marketing team.

The study also shows that social media will continue to be a critical platform for businesses and customers. Almost three quarters (74%) of respondents agree that social media will increasingly contribute to their company’s bottom line.

Businesses are using social media in a number of different ways – particularly to build brand reputation, manage their brand reputation, and to engage with their community.

“Our social media barometer report confirms what we’ve been hearing from customers large and small; that social media has become a critical channel for delivering a consistent customer experience across a business,” comments Hootsuite CMO Penny Wilson. 

92% of organisations are using social to build brand awareness; 78% to manage their brand reputation; 78% for building and managing an engaged community; 66% to increase lead conversions and sales; 56% to gain market and customer insights; 49% for delivering customer service; 33% to attract job applicants; and 25% to identify crisis and manage communications.

However insights and analytics related to social media data are proving to be a pain point for some businesses, as 54% of executives struggle to understand and interpret social data, and 52% struggle to stay on top of key social media trends.

Asia Pacific businesses are also quickly catching up to large players like the United States in social media adoption, the study also found.

“While Asia Pacific’s appetite and appreciation for social media is higher than the rest of the world, organisations in the region lag behind when it comes to social goals and doing more with social. This means there’s a huge opportunity to better align goals with overall business objectives,” the company states.

“With social increasingly how customers consume media; conduct research, ask questions and seek recommendations; make purchase decisions, engage with brands for support and show our loyalty, this is not a surprise. More organisations are discovering the value of social media within and beyond marketing, and the resulting direct impact it has on their bottom line,” Wilson concludes.  

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