Most Companies Failing to Integrate Social Media

Most big companies around the world are using social media for a variety of purposes, but they’re failing to effectively integrate it into their overall corporate strategies, according to a new global survey and study from InSites Consulting. On the positive side, U.S. companies are leading the pack when it comes to basic adoption.

The survey of 1,222 top managers in the U.S., Britain, the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and France, found that 61% of the companies surveyed are using Facebook, 39% are using Twitter, 29% are using LinkedIn, 24% are using YouTube. As noted, adoption rates among U.S. companies are significantly higher than average, with 80% using Facebook, 45% using Twitter, 48% using LinkedIn, and 31% using YouTube. Interestingly, B2B companies in the global survey were slightly more likely than B2C companies to be using Facebook, with adoption rates of 62% and 60%, respectively.

Just because companies are using social media doesn’t mean they’re using it effectively, however. When asked to assess their progress on social media, the largest segment of respondents in the global survey, 29%, said they were “doing nothing,” while 27% said they were in the “first steps,” and 17% said they were in the “pilot phase.” By comparison, only 15% were “integrating social media” and a mere 12% had succeeded in integrating social media into an overall corporate strategy.

In the U.S., 26% of companies said they were “doing nothing,” 24% said they were in the “first steps,” and 23% said they were in the pilot phase. Only 17% said they were in the process of integrating social media, and just 11% said it was fully integrated.

In terms of purpose, 39% are using social media to help manage customer experience, 24% use it to manage customer conversations, 19% use it to manage content, and 16% use it for collaboration.

Companies are also uneven in giving employees the resources they need to be involved with social media. Only about half -- 52% -- give employees access to social media at work, while only 44% said their company encourages online conversations with customers. And only 41% said their company allows them to talk about their work on social media (perhaps reflecting security concerns).

4 comments about "Most Companies Failing to Integrate Social Media".
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  1. Tom Cunniff from Tom Cunniff, June 22, 2012 at 9:41 a.m.

    I am a consultant on this issue, and the problem of integration is a problem of filter failure. It's not limited to social media. There is an endless proliferation of new tactical opportunities, but many brands lack an effective filter to evaluate whether these are right for *them*. The most important question we can ask of any tactic is "what do we want to come of this?" Do we want to generate awareness, or an action? Effective filters can be created, and I think they must be. When we have a good filter, we do not have to chase every bright shiny object and we can preserve our budgets and energies for things that drive the business.

  2. Steve Kavetsky from AgooBiz, Inc., June 22, 2012 at 10:08 a.m.

    Erik - these are some interesting stats. What WE see here [summarization], companies large and small are using Social Media at differing degrees of adoption, effectiveness, and with different goals.

    Major takeaway from this is that there's an enormous amount of potential to earn profits through SM [for traditional business using SM as well as Social Media businesses themselves].

    WE are living/working in the infancy of the SM industry [and its subset Social Commerce is even younger]. Services ranging from improving the effectiveness of a company's SM presence to adding new goals to a business's existing SM campaigns to getting businesses to use SM for the first time make this a very exciting time. Glad to be in it at such an early stage.

    Steve Kavetsky
    Co-Founder/Pres. // The Social Commerce Network
    "WE work greater than me"

  3. Norman Smit from Integrated Media Strategies, June 22, 2012 at 10:52 a.m.

    My experience is that media integration in general is often poorly handled and that social media follows that trend. Many organizations silo communications operations by media type or use siloed vendors and contractors that results in spotty effectiveness. Social media gets added like another channel. Big mistake. Part of the work my company - Integrated Media Strategies - does is help organizations rethink how they make decisions about communications and information and how to more effectively align people, power structures, and workflow. The goal should be to translate what's important to a business in its communications in such a way that information travels easily in both directions - from the market to decisionmakers and from thought leaders in the company out to interested consituents. It allows interactions with the marketplace to be used more intelligently and often more cost effectively. The article highlights the difficulty many organizations are having with a marketplace and audiences that can interact among themselves with digital and social media completely independently. One-way control of corporate messaging has been lost and many organizations haven't adapted. Smart phones, digital and social media will accelerate this phenomenon. Successful organizations Will recognize this revolution as an opportunity to improve internal and external communications and emerge with products sharpened by consumer interactions along with a new authenticity.

  4. Steve Kavetsky from AgooBiz, Inc., June 22, 2012 at 12:24 p.m.

    Well put Norman.

    I did not consider businesses' misuse of media as a whole. By merely adding Social Media as yet another channel, they're extending their [fixable] mistakes to SM and continuing their undesirable habits. These mistakes create leaks of capital prevalent in every channel they add. It is my understanding that your company can plug these leaks.

    Still, the potential of huge profitability for all parties involved [i.e. the SM service providers and the end-user businesses] is immense.

    Steve Kavetsky
    Co-Founder/Pres. // The Social Commerce Network
    "WE work greater than me"

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