Markets ‘confused’ about value of social media
Marketers are confused about the value, purpose and ownership of social media and failing to realise the channel’s real potential as part of the marketing mix, according to a new survey.
The study by Wildfire PR found that marketers are failing to take a strategic approach to the new digital discipline, with just 7% saying they were measuring the impact of social media and generating a return on investment (ROI).
The study, which canvassed the option of 250 UK marketing decision makers, found that while almost half of businesses have adopted social media, 15% are doing it so they don’t get left behind, 12% because they feel they have to and a further 10% because their competitors are doing it.
So it’s perhaps not surprising that the vast majority of companies are failing to realise the full benefits afforded by social media tactics and are merely using it as an extension of existing marketing tactics with 10% saying they adopted social media as a press release distribution channel, only 5% saying they use it for market research and a meagre 6% saying social media is integrated with their marketing campaigns.
A sustainable approach
“Social media offers companies the opportunity to engage in a two-way dialogue with their customers, but this will require a change in corporate thinking,” said Debby Penton, MD at technology marketing and PR company Wildfire. “Too many organisations are adopting social media simply because they have to, with little strategic thought as to how they can engage with their customers to build brand advocates, create communities or gain valuable market research insights. With this lack of focus, it is hardly surprising that the marketers surveyed are confused and failing to make the most of this new opportunity.”
Wildfire has released a 10-step guide for businesses looking to take a more strategic or sustainable approach to social media. It sets out a series of considerations and suggestions that will help companies take a more considered approach to social media, both as part of the marketing mix, but also as part of other business units or departments including customer service and HR.
Internal PR teams ‘best placed’ to manage social media
The survey revealed a lack of consensus among marketers about ownership of social media strategy; when asked which department was best placed to own social media, the in-house PR team came out on top with 27%. Just one in five marketers saying the marketing department should own it and a further 20% saying it should belong to IT.
The report can be downloaded at www.wildfirepr.co.uk/sustainable_social_media