Only eight percent of business-to-business (B2B) companies in the United States are extensively leveraging social media, even though 65 percent of marketing executives surveyed by Accenture identified social media as important to their companies’ business.
The survey found that only five percent of marketing executives said they formally integrate social media with their other customer and marketing initiatives, and a full quarter of the respondents (26 percent) said they were only slightly engaged or not engaged at all with the medium.
One apparent reason for the lack of social media integration and engagement is a concern about making the wrong social media investment. Only one-in-four (24 percent) of respondents in companies that had invested in social media felt very confident about their company’s social media investment, while 19 percent had no confidence in those investments at all. One-fifth (23 percent) said their companies’ social media initiatives were delayed because their CEO was not convinced that there would be long-term success in using the medium.
Accenture’s research suggests that managers must also become more confident in their social media strategies and investments to make social media part of the core, rather than an add-on, to their overall strategy.
Limited measurement of ROI
Although measurement of return on investment (ROI) is considered a key factor in a successful social media program, only 11 percent of the marketing executives surveyed said their companies currently have systems in place to measure and track their social media ROI. However, more than one-third (35 percent) of marketing executives surveyed did recognize improvements in measurement as a factor in helping them be more effective users of social media.
While measurement remains an issue among the companies represented in the survey, the results show that the reasons for investing in social media have been clearly defined. In descending order, the motivating factors for investing in social media are: to increase engagement and positive customer experiences (60 percent), influence brand reputation (59 percent), create new revenue opportunities (52 percent), respond to customer demand (40 percent), reduce costs (25 percent) and keep up with what competitors are doing (24 percent).
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