Corporate Social Media Usage: Explaining the Digital Divide

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Social media usage in the United States is higher than in Europe, but high usage does not imply true integration as the social media approach is often disconnected from general company management. 

A digital gap is growing in the corporate world, as companies already investing will continue to do so whereas those not investing are not planning to do so. InSites Consulting, an international market research agency, this week released its survey of 1,222 managers and business owners from companies (+20 employees) in the US, Great Britain, The Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and France. 

“Even though there is a clear digital evolution and pull among clients, there are still companies that are not convinced that they too have to go with the evolution. The risk for these companies is that, in a rather short term, they will miss out on an important target group in their market. It is time for these companies to observe, facilitate and join these conversations through e.g. consumer consulting boards or social media observation techniques,” comments Prof. Steven Van Belleghem, partner at InSites.

Key findings include:[more]

  • 80% of the American companies use Facebook, 45% have a Twitter account, 48% are present on LinkedIn and 31% use YouTube. 
  • Four out of ten American companies listen to what consumers say about them on social network sites. “Social media makes conversations between consumers very transparent. Companies can quite easily discover what people are saying about their products and services. An increasingly growing group is strongly interested (and with good reason) in this real-time feedback from the market,” says Van Belleghem.
  • 83% of companies say they always deal with questions or complaints via social media, but just 54% talk to and actively participate in online conversations with consumers.
  • Only 11% are integrating their social media approach into their overall corporate strategy while 17% are mid-integration. 
  • More than 1 out of 4 (26%) are not doing anything on social media. “A huge number of companies feel external pressure to be present on social media. Unfortunately this very often results in static corporate pages where nothing really happens. It too often leads to mere presence, not engagement with people. In doing so, companies create enthusiasm among their customers which in the end turns into disappointment,” states Van Belleghem. 
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