Many businesses still failing to embrace social media

by Jordan Stone in News Google+

Yesterday Econsultancy published their Social Media and Online PR Report, produced in association with bigmouthmedia. It’s certainly worth a read.

The first thing to point out is that the scope of the research is nothing if not impressive. They received over 1,100 respondents representing 458 client-side organizations and 522 agency / suppliers. One might assume then that it paints a fairly accurate picture of the industry, and of the UK market in particular as Brits made up the majority of respondents.

I’ve been through both the report and presentation and assembled a few thoughts on some of the findings. As we near the end of 2009, it seems that the industry has a way to go:

  • Just under half of companies (46%) are not yet using reputation or buzz monitoring tools to understand what is being said about their brand. Not even free tools? I find this slightly worrying, as there is virtually no barrier to entry and no shortage of free tools online.  For instance, here’s a list I’ve helped compile on the Measurement Camp website.
  • There’s a large gap between personal and organisational attitudes towards social media. Whereas 61% of respondents personally see a tremendous opportunity for social media, less than a third (31%) say that their organisations as a whole have this same positive outlook. In fact 44% say their organisations are not fully convinced of the value (but are open minded), and another 19% consider social media a major risk.
  • The three most common reasons for not investing in social media up to now have been lack of knowledge and understanding (59%), company culture (41%) and lack of senior buy-in (41%).  It would seem that change needs to start from the top, and agencies of all different stripes have a role to play in educating their clients.

So there are some definite challenges ahead, as social media/digital engagement still appears to be a long way off being something that businesses take seriously. However, it’s not all doom and gloom:

  • The majority of companies (86%) expect investment in social media to increase in 2010.

Surely that’s good news?

Get the report here.

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  • http://twitter.com/RunMarketing RunMarketing

    I think we're lucky to be at the cutting edge, to be honest. As people who've involved themselves early on in digital marketing we have to appreciate that there's a helluva lot to take on board if you're coming to this anew after years of 'traditional marketing', which is where a lot of marketing directors will be.

    It was interesting to read the report and I think the critical thing here is speed – especially in reputation management. I just don't see how big, cumbersome firms can respond quickly to fight fires with all those long-winded approvals chains. It will require complete restructure of the approvals process to reply to negative buzz before it's too late.

    On the flip side, those same firms have the budget to do great things with social media – and, as I blogged today here http://runmarketing.co.uk/blog/social-media-bud… I'm yet to see some great examples of social media on a shoestring.

    So, smaller firms may have the speed and desire to do great things with social media, but not necessarily the budget.

    The industry talked a lot about social media this year and some people actually did something. Next year is going to be even more interesting…

  • http://www.digitalprescriptions.co.uk/ jordanstone

    I agree with you about the structural challenges inherent in large organisations when it comes to reputation management.

    What struck me the most about the report was that smaller companies have been more likely to get involved in social media as they are more flexible and (often) have far fewer barriers to experimenting with emerging channels and web technologies. Perhaps as the knowledge spreads we'll see more sophisticated work from smaller businesses.

  • http://www.superiorpromos.com/ Promotional Products

    I think this is something that they are going to regret. When they look back and wonder why they never evolved and acquired new business, they will have to look at their reluctance to embrace this medium.

  • http://www.projectgroup.it/ ale

    on sm measure
    while it's surely true that measurement tools can be really cheap, you still have to know (1) how social media work and (2) how to use them.
    and those definitely *are* entrance barriers to this tools.
    most companies don't even know that they do have a reputation on the internet.
    that said, I tested more than one tool (even the expensive ones) and the differences I see rely most on the working tools, not on the measurement itself. what do you think about it?

  • http://twitter.com/RunMarketing RunMarketing

    I think we're lucky to be at the cutting edge, to be honest. As people who've involved themselves early on in digital marketing we have to appreciate that there's a helluva lot to take on board if you're coming to this anew after years of 'traditional marketing', which is where a lot of marketing directors will be.

    It was interesting to read the report and I think the critical thing here is speed – especially in reputation management. I just don't see how big, cumbersome firms can respond quickly to fight fires with all those long-winded approvals chains. It will require complete restructure of the approvals process to reply to negative buzz before it's too late.

    On the flip side, those same firms have the budget to do great things with social media – and, as I blogged today here http://runmarketing.co.uk/blog/social-media-bud… I'm yet to see some great examples of social media on a shoestring.

    So, smaller firms may have the speed and desire to do great things with social media, but not necessarily the budget.

    The industry talked a lot about social media this year and some people actually did something. Next year is going to be even more interesting…

  • http://www.digitalprescriptions.co.uk/ Jordan Stone

    I agree with you about the structural challenges inherent in large organisations when it comes to reputation management.

    What struck me the most about the report was that smaller companies have been more likely to get involved in social media as they are more flexible and (often) have far fewer barriers to experimenting with emerging channels and web technologies. Perhaps as the knowledge spreads we'll see more sophisticated work from smaller businesses.

  • http://www.superiorpromos.com/ Promotional Products

    I think this is something that they are going to regret. When they look back and wonder why they never evolved and acquired new business, they will have to look at their reluctance to embrace this medium.

  • http://www.projectgroup.it/ ale

    on sm measure
    while it's surely true that measurement tools can be really cheap, you still have to know (1) how social media work and (2) how to use them.
    and those definitely *are* entrance barriers to this tools.
    most companies don't even know that they do have a reputation on the internet.
    that said, I tested more than one tool (even the expensive ones) and the differences I see rely most on the working tools, not on the measurement itself. what do you think about it?

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