Social Business still far away for companies? B2B Execs see Social Media reputation as a corporate blind spot
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
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.
Many companies and brands are asking themselves (and us): “How fast do we have to give some feedback or answer when somebody is pinging us on Facebook, Twitter and the likes?” Or: Do we have to give some feedback on the weekends? And the answers we have heard were quite astonishing. Many managers in companies still think they have got a day or two to reply to their customers – whether they are speaking with them on email or on one of their realtime streams. Many test we have done so far, have shown us that most companies don’t react at all, some not on weekends, and some after one or two days. Be sure, if you offer your clients a realtime channel, they will use it – and they don’t care if the problem comes up on a weekend or not.
In a recent research by Convince and Convert we can find some clean answer now: 42% of the respondents expect an answer in the first 60 minutes! What comes even worse for companies: 57% want the some reaction time no matter what time of day it is or whether it is a Saturday or Sunday. In total, 67% expect some response by companies in the someday.
Still, many companies don’t have the right resources to satisfy their customers Social Media expectations. And there are many reasons for it: not enough resources, lack in modern process management or lack in technical establishment. Some companies started mentioning their opening hours in the info or biography fields which kind of makes sense and becomes a state-of-the-art workaround for the interim period until companies understand what a full-fledged social business with proper community management means. And this definitely goes away from the “9-to-5″ workplace we know from our fathers.
The main challenge for companies and brands is to find out what the deeper demand of the status update, the comment, the review or a rating is. Remember the 3R’s? In the end, what we have learned years ago, is that people want to have the feeling someone is taking care of them immediately. This does not essentially say that companies or brands have to supply the best possible answer or solution. Many managers have still not understood the fine difference between these topics.
What we would like to know is: Do 60 minutes feedback time make sense? Should we try to be more patient as users? Is a quick feedback really that important if our lives are not depending on it? You give the answer…
dmexco 2012 is over – the pure numbers show the trend of the digital marketing show…
Visitors: 22.200 – increase by 15% compared to 2011
Exhibitors: 578 – means over 135 exhibitors more than 2011
International attendance: 25% of visitors and 20% of exhibitors
The challenges for marketers are increasing. They have to face the explosion of data and how to make use of it in the future. They have to find clever data experts and technical specialists in order to cope with the evolution of adtechnology – or to find the right agency to manage the data for them. They have to evaluate the balanced strategy between going to market with long-term “content strategy” (community, monitoring, pull) and the short-term “campaign” (banner, SEO, push) approach – whether in local commerce, mobile or social. They have to, have to, have to… Well, I could continue this list of tweets.
However, it is better to share the tweets refering to the most tweeted keynotes from some international speakers that we had in the conference program.
…and in case someone might ask why I am still smiling. Just read this tweet and you know why… THX so much, Timo!
In my third year as a co-moderator, it was a great special pleasure to have the honour to moderate
the Women Leadership Panel with Colleen DeCourcy (Socialistic), Sarah Wood (Unruly) and Stephanie Fierman (Mediacom). Thank you ladies, you were smart and terrific!
Also, challenging the panel with the CEOs Jack Klues (Vivaki), Randall Rothenburg (IAB) and Nick Emery (Mindshare Worldwide) on the relevance of big data for the media and marketing business. Learnings? Restrict them to 5 minute intros and expect them to take 10. Allow for 140 character answer and get blog posts. Thank you gentlemen, you were brilliant in big data digging!
Looking forward to the next dmexco in Cologne, September, 18. and 19, 2013 – CU there!
Those references and quotes would help us raise awareness. It would define and differentiate customer confidence. It would foster our sales funnel. And it would be the key to convert our sales opportunities much faster.
In other industries like hotels or restaurants, there was always a guestbook. People could tell the owners and managers what they liked, why they liked it and what made the location appear different from the competitors. In a B2B world, this was not possible. And there were reasons for it…
Who wanted to ruin the company’s tough won conditions of purchase?
Who would risk annoying their bosses for deeper supplier engagement?
Who said openly how highly rated the quality of a supplier’s communication effort was?
Who started positive questions and conversations by themselves without having a need to?
Who rates, reviews and recommends a B2B solution or a product without a need?
Today, people do that. In the B2B space maybe less than in the B2C world. But they do. And a reference in a B2B business has more value, more credibility and more sales power than when somebody likes a chocolate bar or some pair of sports-shoes – especially when not done on a social network but a corporate community.
But there are challenges coming along with this modern B2B reference development…
Companies and brands need to listen and monitor what their community is saying, and where they mention them. They need to categorize the value of a “Like” versus the impact of a comment on a corporate blog. They need to define ways for measurement criteria. And they have to know when and where to store a comment – whether positive or negative.
Positive comments are a blessing. But what if the comment disappears on Twitter after some weeks? What if the Facebook comment losses attention as of permanent posting in a company’s timeline? What value has the “Like” in general, if people don’t value Facebook as a B2B platform? Anf what if your company has a high Klout score but your clients have no clue what the impct of Klout score has for B2B?
Negative comments are an opportunity. Why not take the chance to answer to someone who was disatisfied with the solution or product? Assuming there are other clients experiencing the same problems, challenges, or undeliverables, B2Bs better respond. Is there a better chance to learn in order to get more references? Being “open” is authentic, is valuable, is generating more conversations.
Companies and brands should be grateful. Today, we have platforms where we can get references: corporate communities, forums, blogs, social network accounts and so on. But we need to make sure, we create Social Media guestbooks which display and keep the reference, the business people that have shared them, those that have retweeted, repinned or “re-used” them. Or why did we create and display case studies on our B2B websites for years?
I am asking myself the question, why are companies giving their hottest assets in the hands of Facebook, Twitter and the likes. And why they are not just changing their mindset. Answers welcome…!
Many interesting infos have we seen concerning how companies and employers are seeing and opening up their minds about Social Media usage in their offices.
PayScale now comes up with an interesting collection of data based on how employers have adapted Social Media usage for their employees. Some key findings are in the following infographic which makes clear that companies are still in a control mode and have their difficulties becoming “The Social Enterprise”.
- Just a bit more than half of the companies (53%) have a formal social media policy.
- Still 42% of companies don’t allow any forms of Social Media activity at work.
- The smaller the company the more likely the company has a Social Media policy in place.
- With 65% the retail industry is the most evolved industry sector, followed by manufacturing and biz support.
- Energy companies are least likely to use Social Media versus media companies that do encourage their employees.
The infographic shows that there is some kind of ambiguity in the adoption of Social Media inside companies. Although most companies see value in employer branding, in recruiting people through Social Media platforms (80% according to LinkedIn) as well as for external communication like promotions, marketing and PR, many companies still don’t want to go the final mile in transforming their company into a “Social Business”. So, why are they banning the use of these platforms, if they see ROI for their employees in working with it? Isn’t the open and transparent use of Social Media in business more important for the future than it has ever been? For marketing and HR ok, for the rest of the employees not?
Just think about the fact that two out of five Gen Y workers rate Social Media above a higher salary (well, they don’t have kids and family liabilities…). When 56% don’t want a company than bans Social Media companies should rethink their HR strategy and see the value in a Community Centric Strategy…
It sounds a bit incredible, but it is still plain reality. The majority of B2B companies still ignore their clients on the social web. Most companies are not listening to their voices in Social Media to draw their conclusion out of their public feedback.
69% of B2B companies don’t give feedback to their customers input in Social Media. The missing process is the challenge for them which they cannot manage. This is the outcome of a recent study by Satmetrix.
Satmetrix is the company which is responsible for the NetPromoter score. This score measures customer satisfaction based on how likely customers are to recommend a business. Being a measurement of advocates and detractors, it might as well be seen as a mirror of business success.
The risk of ignoring still seems to be not interesting for companies if we see the latest results from this study…
- 75% of B2B companies do not measure or quantify Social Media
- 60% of B2B companies do not have an integrated social media strategy
- 56% of B2B companies who measure Social Media just count the comments and followers
- 51% of B2B companies don’t have Social Media tracking at all
- Just 4% of companies who measure social media have any form of sentiment analysis
The survey data is based on 1.180 responses from businesses around the globe, who are all part of the NetPromoter.com community.
Some months ago, Google described in a B2B study how business decision makers are making up their mind for a purchase decision. The web is the first resource when B2B decision makers are on their way to evaluate which product or solution they might buy for their company. And although studies like the one of the Aberdeen Group state that B2B companies can generate more leads when using Social Media, many companies still don’t see the link and the opportunities coming with it.
Somehow Social Media in B2B is not rocket-science. Somehow the challenge is to align competition, commitment, content, context and collaboration -the 5C’s of Social Bsuiness- in order to offer customers the chance to identity with the company. In our eyes, this is the only way to differentiate from your competitors. Let us know if you have good examples how companies are using Social Media in the B2B world. Looking forward to your feedback. Or if you interact as a B2B company successful on the social web, let us know and we might highlight your case in a post. Reach out to us!
The mighty loss in productivity often moves ROI and positive arguments in the shade when the conversation comes to social business discussions. Especially, social networking sites like Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and the likes let managers get nervous if their employees are still working today for eight hours, or not. Or whether it is better to cut the line to social networks.
In times where almost every second employee calls a smartphone or tablet their property, all the discussion around baning social networks seem to be making less and less sense. Training and encouraging employees to benefit from social networking sounds even more appropriate. Just bear in mind how much knowledge the company could generate out of it, if the knowledge learning process is aligned to the use of social networks.
If employers see the benefit of a social business through connected workers, the digital access to the company expands and conversations around the company as well as rpducts and the brand will increase. It fosters and harnesses the ability to create leadership in different ways. Content, context and collaboration will rise. Managers just need to offer identification for consumers, differentiate from competition, and redefine commitment for employees and partners anew. Just like the Community Centric Strategy teaches them…
Gist also offers some nice recommendations how to become “The Social Enterprise” in an infographic…
In a recent study called Beyond digital, IBM analyzed the digital behavior of 3,800 respondents in six countries (China, France, Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States).
The study explains how the digital industry changes with the evolution of the so-called “The Connected Consumer” how Saul Berman, author of the study, calls us today. Us? Well, everybody who engages online provides custom experiences, and thus the term was created. It makes clear that 78% identify themselves as digital device adopters – more than half of those read newspapers online.
Companies need to become a clearer picture of their consumers. These identify themselves as either Early Adopters 12%; Late Adopters 32%; Mainstream Consumers 35%, or Stragglers 21%. Over half of the “mainstream consumers” show a range of digital consumption behaviors. They check news onion. They watch video online. They access mobile services. They participate in social networking, or visit user-generated content sites.
IBM took a new approach to identifying the respondents in four different categories – although in my eyes categories will be difficult to hold as user cross category borders permanently these days. One of the reasons why I have created the Community Centric Strategy which I launched at the last IBM Social Business event IN Germany.
Still, the four digital personalities IBM found have more to do with their degrees of access to technology and content. Older target-group definitions like age come in second line.
The biggest group is the Efficiency Experts. They make up 41% of tech users, the largest portion of connected consumers.
The other three categories are…
Content Kings (9%) – dedicated gamers, newshounds, movie buffs, music lovers and TV fans.
Social Butterflies (15%) – have consistent access to networks, but engage with friends and family, rather than media-supplied content.
Connected Maestros (35%) – using mobile devices and Smartphone applications to access games, music, and video or to check news, weather, sports, etc.
“These respondents use digital devices and services to simplify day-to-day activities. Efficiency experts send emails rather than letters, use Facebook to communicate with others, access the Internet via mobile phones, and shop online.”
Companies should take a close look at the Connected Maestros as they are providing tailored customer experiences. They require brands to build insightful profiles and continually update them as consumers evolve their digital content consumption behaviors. They are eager to get to know more about brands, companies and products. Assuming they are more likely to get engaged with brands, or to become brandvangelists.
Would you agree…? Where do you see yourself?
We already know that Social Media use confers a wide variety of benefits for the average company. It can work as an effective platform for marketing a new product. It can act as a focus group to gauge consumer opinions. It can be used to reinforce brand image and community engagement on a day-to-day basis. And, for most basic uses, social media is free, easy, accessible, and convenient. From a business perspective, there’s really not much to dislike.
Now research has revealed another reason for businesses to use social media: credibility.
According to a study released recently by BRANDfog, a social media consulting firm, CEOs that use social media are perceived by consumers as more credible.
A full 82% of the respondents in the survey said that they trust a company more when its top executive actively uses and communicates via social media. Furthermore, 77% said that they were more likely to purchase a product from a business that has a socially-engaged CEO. These findings fall in line with earlier credibility studies, although they are the first to consider the CEO’s role in particular.
The strong preference given to CEO engagement is likely a testament to the power of informal, personalized communication in the digital age. In the past, an executive might have given a human face to his or her business by writing individualized letters with custom pens or by making a point to speak with small shareholders at the annual meeting. These days this appeal to personalized informality is best found on Facebook and Twitter, where the CEOs communicate just as we do and may actually respond to our individual comments or complaints.
At the same time, social media is perceived as an “honest forum” where people can speak candidly and where companies cannot stand behind layers of advertisers, consultants, and brand managers. By putting its brand message on Facebook and Twitter – and by keeping that message the same across traditional and non-traditional platforms – companies can appear more transparent and dependable. A brand message coming from the CEO only boosts that perceived transparency.
A minority of top CEOs currently use Facebook and/or Twitter to connect with consumers. Is this about to change? If companies are paying attention to this study, the answer very well may be yes.
This post is a guest post from Inkhead.
In a recent study the research companies comScore, Accenture and dunnhumbyUSA found some significant relevance between in-store sales and a company’s web presence. The study was based on a panel of CPG customers and one million U.S. Internet users who have given comScore explicit permission to have their online activities continuously measured and matched to their in-store brand buying behavior provided by dunnhumbyUSA.
The report comes to the conclusion that consumers who visit a website prior to their shopping experience in a company store spend 34% more with that company and 57% more on products or services based on their specific industry sector. It also states that visitors of brand websites are frequent buyers of the brand in retail stores. It shows that 42% more of these clients finish their transactions than non-visitors. Furthermore, website visitors are also heavier buyers in a brand’s product category. They are spending 53% more in their category dollars than non-visitors.
“Since website visitors have higher affinity to the brand and the overall product category, there is an opportunity for brand marketers to drive loyalty through personalizing the website experience, catering to the preferences of their best customers.”John LaRocca, Vice President, Strategic Partnerships, dunnhumbyUSA
And again another study highlights the importance of content marketing as the new emerging trend in marketing. Shoppers were more aggressive in their approach to understand and evaluate their purchases prior to their visit in shops as a result of the massive information access through the web. According to the research, content marketing plays a significant role here. So, campaigns on the web not only add value to web shopping but also -and for some companies and brands more importantly- will help to drive and boost in-store habits and sales – apart from positioning a brand’s capability.
“Marketers who create compelling (brand) website experiences for consumers are extremely effective in driving incremental and profitable in-store sales. Analysis shows that consumers visiting the best of the 10 CPG brand websites evaluated in the research study, spent over 200% more on the brand than non-visitors.” Jerry Lohse, Senior Director, Accenture Interactive
Based on the fact that Brafton reported some weeks ago that the average consumer visits more than 10 web pages before a purchase decision, this study marks an important point in the relevance between online and offline shopping. This might be catalyzed by the new opportunities that smartphones, tablets or Augmented Reality (see real-life community shopping) offer, and shows the straight relationship between the two shopping experiences which more and more merge to one close shopping cycle.
More companies are realizing that offering web shoppers the same information and service as in-stores will lead to more purchase at both ends of the shopping cycle: online and at offline locations. The challenge for companies is to differentiate the shopping experience by using SoLoMo (social – local – mobile). Here the question for the future will remain whether in-store shopping needs to become more of a lifestyle experience or adventure to attract more consumers to join in-store activity (see IKEA Sleepover), or wether people will want to have real people around them and thus make it a social reality world, rather than a social web world…