• Social Media Crisis in Confidence?

    Over 65% of executives believe social media is too important to ignore, this according to a new study from Accenture: Making Social Media Pay. The study results are based on a survey of executives at more than 200 North American B2B companies with annual revenues of $1 billion or more to gauge their social media atti­tudes and actions.

    Rather than reacting to customers demanding social interactions (41% of respondents), collaborative innovation (38%), improving marketing efficiency (29%), or competitive pressures (24%), organizations are instead investing in social to proactively improve customer engagements and experiences (60%), improve brand equity (59%) and drive new revenue opportunities (52%).  This reflects how organizations get it, understanding that social media will truly change how companies connect, engage, sell and evolve relationships with prospects and customers, and how important brand and risk management are in the social-sphere.

    However, despite the realization as to social media’s importance, and the proactive reasons for leveraging social media, only 8% of B2B companies are heavily engaged. The majority remain lackluster, with 10% having not engaged at all in leveraging social media, and an additional 47% perceiving themselves as “under engaged”.  True adoption and commitment remain low, with most companies just “sticking in a toe to gauge the waters”, rather than full commitment.

    Why the trepidation when social media is seemingly so important? Accenture research suggests a lack of confidence in making the right investment decisions to achieve their objectives, with only one in four respondents very confident about his or her company’s social media investments, and nearly 20% had little or no confidence in those investments at all.  With no return on investment (ROI) swagger, adoption lags importance.

    Reported barriers to social media adoption include:

    • A requirement to invest in new tools and technology (50% of respondents);
    • A lack of skilled talent to manage social media campaigns and engagements (40%);
    • Improved teamwork between marketing, sales and service to collaboratively participate (38%);
    • A need for improved measurement (35%).

    Even though social media is important, the ROI uncertainty, confidence lag and barriers seems to directly translate into a lack of action for all but a few large organizations.

    The Bottom-Line

    Social media is perceived as too important to ignore, but a lack of confidence is translating to a lack of action.

    Gaining confidence and taking decided action can lead to important strategic and performance rewards, as much social media value is left unclaimed, and important first mover advantage remains available.

    Tom Pisello, The ROI Guy, and Chairman and Founder of Akonna, has been developing measurement software for ROI and economic justification for the past 20 years. Tom’s newest creation, Akonna, is an emerging Saas provider for measuring, proving and improving the ROI of marketing campaigns and social media efforts. For more information about Akonna, please visit www.akonna.com.

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