Social Business still far away for companies? B2B Execs see Social Media reputation as a corporate blind spot

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Is Social Media really so far behind in the mindset of executives, especially in B2B? Well, according to the Zeno’s Digital Readiness Survey conducted by Harris Interactive it is. The poll asked 300 U.S. corporate executives of various industries and titles of VP or higher, including C-suite executives (primarily B2B) with annual revenues of at least $1 billion. The study comes to a conclusion that surprises us: Many executives fail to consider Social Media reputation when making business decisions. Over one-third of executives (36%) stated that the CEO of their company does not care or cares little about the company’s reputation in Social Media.

Although many companies out there like us advice the leading management how to work with Social Media and how to turn the company into a Social Business, the findings show that still 10% of organizations do not take any action at all to engage with audiences online to address a damaging article or Social Media post. And when it claims that managers would at least take some action to respond to an online crisis, it tells me that Social Media is still not a hotspot for companies and brands.

The main findings of the survey…
- B2B executives (43%) say their CEO largely ignores their company’s online reputation (B2C only 30%) when making business-decisions.
- B2B executives are slower in response. Only 45% of business executives see their company can respond to a negative online post within 24 hours (B2C 63%)
- B2B executives are twice as likely (13%) to say that their firm would not engage an audience online at all to defend their reputation (B2C 6%)
- Executives in larger firms (10,000 employees+) are more likely to say their CEO always or sometimes considers their company’s Social Media reputation versus those in smaller companies (71% versus 55%).  
- Executives in smaller firms ignore Social Media reputation when considered business decision-making more than larger firms (45% versus 29%)

“Given the explosive growth of today’s digital platforms, the Zeno Digital Readiness Survey shows a much larger percentage of companies than one would expect turning a blind eye to valuable customer views and insights. (…) These businesses, regardless of sector, risk serious reputational damage, as well as miss out on important stakeholder feedback, when they ignore social media conversations about their companies and their industries.” Mark Shadle, Managing Director, Zeno Corporate Practise

Spot On!
The study claims that Social Media is a “corporate reputation blind spot,” especially for B2B companies. From our work in 2012 we can only agree with these findings. Although this is surprising when considering that Social Media accounts for almost 25% of people’s time spent online, and that consumers allow companies and brands a response time of 60 minutes for customer service. Companies that don’t want to ignore their online reputation, meaning their business community from clients to partners to employees, should think about the 5Cs of Social Business and how to turn their companies around in order not to put their business reputation at risk.

ZENO GROUP DIGITAL READINESS SURVEY

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