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Firms that shun social media are missing out - studies

21 July 2010  |  11314 views  |  0 biometric  face pointer

Companies failing to use social media to reach their customers and employees do so at their own peril, according to a study from Yankee Group for Siemens Enterprise Communications.

According to the online poll of 750 people, 70% of consumers want access to company experts and support via social media channels and trust company information provided to them via these networks.

Nearly 60% feel "company outreach" via social media would improve their loyalty and most also think firms should be monitoring the medium for feedback.

Yet average customer satisfaction with current business interactions via social media is just 65%, and one third of companies have no formal social networking policies, do not allow the use of it at work or aren't aware of their company's participation in social networking.

Meanwhile, nearly 70% of employees feel they need better tools to track and manage social media for business, and would like the ability to initiate a Web conference automatically from a chat discussion at work, inviting people from within their social and work networks.

Overlooking social networking tools for business communications means lost opportunities to drive customer collaboration and employee productivity, claims Siemens, which has launched integration service offerings designed to enable companies to weave both public and corporate social media tools into enterprise customer call centres.

Meanwhile, a separate study from Pershing Advisor Solutions and Aite shows registered investment advisors (RIAs) are being restricted in their use of social media by wary employers.

Nearly half of the 144 US-based RIAs quizzed work for a firm that has a written policy governing the use of social media tools. Among these firms, 81% prohibit or limit the use of social media.

Yet social media pays off: among RIAs using it, 42% say it has helped them reach new prospects, while for 31% it has helped to generate awareness of their business and 27% credit it with helping them differentiate themselves.

It has produced tangible financial results as well - one in five attributes increased revenue or fees from existing clients due to their social media-related efforts.

Although RIAs who use social media on average manage less assets and advise fewer clients than others, the survey shows they have experienced higher growth in terms of revenue, assets, and clients advised.

The clear favourite is LinkedIn which is accessed by 53% of advisors who use at least one social media tool, while 39% ply Facebook and 27% tweet their thoughts. One in five who use social media have a professionally-oriented blog.

While just over half of RIAs under the age of 30 employ social media on a professional basis, almost as many in their 30s (48%) and their 40s (42%) are using it for work as well.

Mark Tibergien, CEO, Pershing Advisor Solutions, says: "Social media is a juggernaut, and RIAs can't afford to dismiss the opportunity it affords them to engage clients and enhance their visibility with prospects. When developing a strategic marketing communications plan, RIAs need to consider the benefits of incorporating social media into an integrated marketing communications plan."

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