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Social Networking Left Without Strategy

Facebook-Sure -- many U.S. marketers have a Facebook page, or a Twitter account. But the number of them who have truly integrated those social networks into their overall strategy is still surprisingly small.

According to research from InSites Consulting, less than a fifth (16%) of U.S. marketers feel they have fully integrated social media into their company’s overall strategy -- despite most having a Facebook page (66%) or a Twitter account (51%). (Forty-four percent have LinkedIn pages.) Of these companies, 42% said they are still only in the experimental stage when it comes to social media.

“I have a feeling we’re living in a ‘check-list’ mentality,” Steven Van Belleghem, managing partner at InSites Consulting, tells Marketing Daily. “Many companies have started social media in a tactic way. They rapidly created an account on a popular network without it being a total strategy.”

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One of the main obstacles for companies to fully integrate social media is still an uncertainty about the financial returns. Many companies have also not yet invested in education and training when it comes to social media and social media strategy.

“For a lot of companies, it’s unclear what the [financial] outcome will be,” Van Belleghem says. “Everything is due to a lack of knowledge, and they tend to make wrong or limited decisions.”

Still, there are some sectors that have been early adopters when it comes to social media -- specifically those involved with technology, telecommunications and media. A full quarter of those companies said they had fully integrated social media into their company processes. Meanwhile, about a third of companies in the pharmaceutical and financial industries have just begun to experiment with social media -- mainly due to legal and privacy concerns, according to Van Belleghem.

For those companies looking to deepen social media integration, he has three tips: Invest in social media education and training for employees; create small pilot programs that are feasible and can show short-term benefits, and include consumers -- particularly those who have indicated an affinity to the brand -- in the integration.

“The real challenge is to become more consumer-centric,” he says. “[Companies] need to listen and understand their consumers.”

3 comments about "Social Networking Left Without Strategy".
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  1. Kevin Lee from Didit / eMarketing Association / Giving Forward, December 13, 2011 at 9:34 a.m.

    For many companies, consumers or prospects have no interest in "engaging with the brand" making social media a poor fit for that organization on a relative basis to other marketers. Those advertisers should rely on other forms of marketing.

  2. Malcolm Rasala from Real Creatives Worldwide, December 13, 2011 at 10:11 a.m.

    Kevin is right. Consumers buy Kelloggs Corn Flakes to eat not to engage with the brand. Its delusional nonsense to pretend or claim otherwise. You do not want to engage with MacDonalds; you want to eat a hamburger. Ditto Starbucks; do you want to engage with Starbucks or drink a Cafe Latte?

    And the notion pushed by self interested websites that you would eat a hamburger if you didn't want to or did not like MacDonalds because your friend told you to is so moronic as to border on the psychotic.
    You do not buy anything because your friend or mother or lover told you to (unless it is for them).

    If you want to buy a Jeep and a friend suggests you should buy a sedan which do you buy? Social networking is primarily for the sad lonely and moronic. They need to get out a bit more and enjoy existence. You only have one life after all!!!!!

  3. Malcolm Rasala from Real Creatives Worldwide, December 13, 2011 at 10:20 a.m.

    PS Consumer-centric!!! This is new???? So
    when cod-piece makers made cod pieces in Elizanethan England they made in sizes that were not consumer-centric. When wig makers made powdered wigs in the 17th century they made them in sizes that were not consumer-centric.

    Why thinks up and writes this delusional nonsense? The world is going mad me-thinks. Or if not the world those pontificating to marketeers with their
    moronic nut-case ideas. Cannot we not regain a little sanity!!!!!

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