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Companies still don’t get social media

01 Dec 2010

Businesses are still failing to use social media properly, and many remain unconvinced of its usefulness, according to two new surveys.A survey of more than 2000 companies, sponsored by US business analytics firm SAS, concluded that many organisations cling to old paradigms, using social media for one-way flow of marketing messages, instead of capitalising on the opportunity to monitor, analyse, and participate in millions of conversations among consumers. More than half the companies that responded used social media, but only one quarter knew where their most valuable customers were "talking” about them. Even fewer were applying social media analytic tools; almost none had attempted customer sentiment analysis, and just seven percent were trying to integrate social media into overall marketing strategy."Companies are missing the chance to effectively market products and manage their reputations,” said leading author and analytics expert Tom Davenport. "They don’t know who’s talking about their brands, products or services, let alone the positive and negative sentiments. In short, they’re missing marketing opportunities.”Meanwhile, a survey of nearly 6000 SMEs, conducted by Britain’s Forum of Private Business, found that while 52% used social sites, more than half of them felt they were of little or no use."We believe that social media does hold a great deal of potential for many SMEs,” Forum spokesman Phil McCabe said. "Its conversational, real-time nature makes it ideal for entrepreneurs and small, dynamic firms which often have much more relaxed attitudes towards public relations than big corporations. However, small businesses are a diverse bunch and what works for one company may well not be suitable for another.”