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Consumers Want Social Media, Businesses Say Not So Fast



facebook-blockedDespite the fact that the average customer wants to interact via social media, 30 percent of companies don’t have a program in place to handle the demand. That’s according to a study by Yankee Group and it’s not really surprising. Many companies still see social media as a time-waster that keeps their employees from getting their work done. Some companies have even gone so far as to block sites such as Twitter and Facebook, but in cutting off their employees, they could be cutting off their virtual noses to spite their user profiles.

The Yankee Group study found that nearly 60% of customers feel company outreach via social media would improve their loyalty to a company.

70% said they want and trust company information that comes to them through social networks and most respondents said companies should monitor social media for customer feedback.

On the other side of the login, 70% of the employees surveyed felt that their company didn’t have the proper tools, stats and protocols in place to make social media useful and manageable.

For businesses, the only thing worse than being behind the times is jumping into social media without a plan. Back in January, P&G found itself in the middle of a social media uprising over their new not-so-improved Pampers. The company claimed all would be resolved once they launched their official media campaign, weeks after the products hit the shelves. In the meantime, angry moms were using their Facebook and Twitter accounts to instantly slam the company in a very public manner.

Social media isn’t going away. The companies that succeed will be the ones who set down proper policies and procedures for marketing and dealing with the consumer feedback across all of the channels. That also means installing tools to monitor stats and taking those Facebook blocks off their employees’ computers.

My advice. Stop worrying if Fred in accounting is Tweeting about the burrito he had for lunch, and start worring about the customer who just posted a Facebook photo of the poor quality product he bought with your name on it.

  • http://www.awebguy.com Mark Aaron Murnahan

    It truly shocks me how companies can overlook the need to monitor what the people who keep them in business are saying. Those same people who keep them in business are the people who can take them out of business just as easily. I try to explain this to companies every day, but somehow they still assume that they can just put it off indefinitely.

  • http://KarlSakas.com/ Karl Sakas

    If consumers are talking about you (especially if it’s negative), you’d better be there to respond. Otherwise, you’re letting other people tell your story for you.

  • Cynthia Boris

    Looking at the timing of our posts today, I’d say the companies who said no to Social Media in this study, should read Andy’s Study: Social Media Marketing Reduces Reputation Crisis Costs by 33% article!

  • http://blog.briandshelton.com Brian D. Shelton

    Andy, these numbers only confirm what many of us see every day. A very current example of this is Snapple. Fortunately for them, much of the “conversation” going on is in support of their product (Bret Michaels’ Diet Trop-A-Rocka Tea), but they are completely ignoring their customers. Sadly, they aren’t in the minority – as your posts confirms. Keep up the great work.

  • Sephy Hambaz

    Great time to get involved with social media site/content development.

  • http://www.sqlsteps.com SQL Training

    Wow, this is astonishing. I thought each and every company and business wants to join the social media band wagon

  • http://www.bbpr.wordpress.com Bill Byrne

    I don’t think that it’s because brands see it as a time waster – rather I feel it’s a lack of knowledge and bandwidth.

    Lots of companies could be doing things better in the marketing world. Ads could be focus-grouped more… or at all. Media relations could be more aggressive and consumer facing social media channels could have more robust presences (is ‘robust’ still a relevant phrase here? what about ‘paradigm shifting’).

    We maintain social media channels for a few clients. It’s not easy and takes a lot of bandwidth to right and align with a solid strategy.

    Should more brands be engaging through social media? Definitely. But it’s more difficult than just putting an intern in front of a computer and asking them to “maintain” your Facebook page.

    A few months back I made a lengthier post about this here – http://billbyrne.expertsandinsiders.com/2010/01/21/why-are-brands-underutilizing-social-media

    • Cynthia

      This is very true. I’ve spoken to many small business owners who think they can just load up their Twitter account with 4,000 spam followers and hey! I’m in social media. Yikes.

  • Christine Waters

    I saw that too! Have you noticed the big push for this random beverage store called Beverage Universe? It’s pretty hard to ignore if you frequent those pages at all. (And I admit, I do.) Now THAT’s who Snapple should be following.

    Bev definitely seems to put their customers first. Take a look: http://blog.beverageuniverse.com/2010/07/bret-michaels%E2%80%99-diet-snapple-trop-a-rocka-two-chances-to-get-it-free-enter-now/

  • http://blog.sysomos.com Sheldon (40deuce)

    One of the first pieces of advice I always give to people and companies is that people are going to be talking about you online whether you’re there or not, so you might as well be there and then you can hopefully swing favour in your direction.
    Some of these stats are super interesting too. Thanks for sharing.

    Cheers,

    Sheldon, community manager for Sysomos

  • http://www.greenilo.com Ethan

    Social media is rally time wasting thats is the true…in the company that i worked in peoples spend daily 30 minutes for playing farmville in facebook. Just imagine if 8 hours is 1 PD(person days). 16 peoples waste a PD in a single day.

    But the companies can allow a text only format, that can be done……

    My latest articles @ http://www.greenilo.com/blog

  • http://www.wealthsession.com T. Avant

    I think there’s a necessary double standard businesses need to have: limit and/or monitor employees use of social networking sites while promoting their businesses through social media. It’s a huge potential time waste for employees, but companies need to market there.

  • http://www.dusting.us Paz Quandt

    It’s amazing how social media like facebook and twitter have changed the lives of millions of people in a short span of time. Businesses who care about how they are doing in the market should not neglect this opportunity. It is an effective way to gauge your status in the market and will help you find out the things that you need to improve on.

  • http://otdryanbarcelo.myubertor.com Ryan Barcelo

    Read the book Sociable by Stephen Jagger. Companies now need social media to become part of their system.