Study: Social Media still at early stages in companies in 2010

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A recent study by SmartBrief and Summus on the State of Social Media for Business 2010 shows how companies use Social Media at the moment. More than 6.000 business decision makers took part and there are some trends that can be seen here. And what did we expect…? Social Media is still at early stages.

Most companies (66,5%) use Social Media 18 months now. Almost half of them are „playing“ with Web2.0 tools, only 5,4% work with them for more than 3 years. Most companies focus on the top 5 Social Media tools: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and Blogs. The reason why they use these tools? As most of their clients are to be found at these places. Although they admit that they also use some niche platforms like FlickR.

Publishers knew it before brands: It takes time to make Social Media usage efficient. The study states that after 2 years companies see the value in Social Media and make it an integral part of their business strategy. Nevertheless, most of them predominatly still use it to raise awareness for their brands (no wonder if 60% of Americans and Canadians follow brands as of promotions and coupons, which an Empathica Consumer Insights research tells us). They talk about product or service information, spread their messages, and don’t rate the conversation with the clients. By not listening they waste a lot of energy and leave the real benefit of the user input behind.

One question that could be quite interesting for a discussion is why it takes so long for companies and brands to adopt and get used to Social Media. Is it because they don’t collaborate with Social Media agencies or because they like to work with internal resources? As we can see from the results, it could also be another factor: One third is not in the position to decide about Social Media, 33% see data security as an issue and 15% saw resistance from the managemetn a critical point.

Spot On!
In my eyes the two most interesting topics for hindering Social Media efforts could be minor trust and no understanding of efficiency of Social Media strategy. Only 7,3% see their strategy as very revenue generating. 14,2% rate their Social Media strategy efficient. Just 14,7% said their companies do measure Social Media efforts, while more than 33% don’t measure at all. At least Social Media is not seen as a fad anymore. If companies don’t understand the long-tail of Social Media, the achieved results won’t meet the expectations of the management. Although Facebook and Twitter seem to be the main platforms for Social Media use as of their reach (intensity), the real benefit could be for more companies by understanding the real impact of the community ideology, blogs, bookmarking sites, or in the future location-based social networks.

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