Business fails to realise social media potential

Global businesses are failing to take advantage of the commercial opportunities created by social media, says software publisher Satmetrix

Global companies are failing to exploit the business opportunities created by social media. 

The B2B sector in particular is failing to spot the benefits and risks of social networking, according to research.

Over half of B2B businesses have no means of tracking conversations about them on social media platforms, according to a survey of over 1,000 global businesses.

The survey, carried out by cloud-based customer experience software maker Satmetrix, found 75% of B2B companies do not measure or quantifying social media activity.

B2C businesses faired a little better, with only 22% having no means of tracking social media conversations and 67% not measuring or quantifying social network references.

Businesses, most notably in the retail sector, are using social media to communicate with potential customers. But 55% of businesses fail to respond to customer feedback. 

IDC Retail Insights says 30% of European retailers plan to introduce social media tools in the next two years. 

“Businesses recognise the need for a social media strategy, however many are challenged in putting an effective strategy in place,” said Richard Owen, CEO at Satmetrix. 

“Whilst 77% of consumers post comments about products, 67% of businesses have no means of measuring what is being said and fewer than one in 20 have any insight into the sentiment of what is being said.”

He said this is a massive lost opportunity. “Not only are companies running the risk of losing customers by not addressing their issues shared online, but they are also walking past the opportunity to capitalise on positive comments made on the social web.”

Andrew Poppleton, managing director of Accenture's UK and Ireland Technology Group, recently told attendees of a HP customer event in London that socially-driven IT is impacting businesses, with some integrating social media into their core systems and processes. 

"Instead of interacting with customers only through callcentres, some businesses are adding social media like Twitter as new entry points," said Poppleton.

Suppliers are reacting to this demand. Indian IT services firm Infosys has a platform aimed at supporting enterprise known as iEngage. This supports sales and marketing through ensuring the business is getting the right online information, via social media, to and from customers. 

It also links into an eCommerce system which enables customers to immediately buy in the same place as they receive information and then manages the customer's purchase lifecycle. 

There is an employee collaboration platform that helps the business share knowledge. This enables information to flow between employees and customers, employees and employees and employees and managers.

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