New study by InSites Consulting and sampling and data collection partner SSI, explores social media usage among 1,222 top managers from companies in the US, Great Britain, the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and France
ROTTERDAM, Netherlands, July 5, 2012—SSI has partnered with InSites Consulting to provide sample and data collection for a study across managers in six countries to explore their companies’ social media habits. The study showed that there is high usage of social media by companies—with usage in the US greater than in Europe—but that companies are not integrating social media within their overall corporate strategy.
An increasing number of companies use social media: 61% of British companies use Facebook, 44% have a Twitter account, 30% are present on LinkedIn and 23% use YouTube. Similar figures can be seen across neighbouring countries. American companies have evolved even further in their social media usage with 60% of companies listening to consumer conversations on social media and 80% answering client questions and complaints via social media. Media companies are frontrunners in use of social media, while healthcare companies lag slightly behind and larger companies lag behind smaller ones.
The survey showed that companies find a presence on social networking sites very important. However, this does not always go hand-in-hand with well thought-out strategy. A mere 10% of the companies surveyed integrate their social media approach in their total corporate strategy; less than half (45%) are currently experimenting or trying out social media sites, and a whopping 31% of British companies are not active at all on social media sites!

Company leaders themselves may be to blame for this. The survey results showed that leaders who have less of an emotional bond with their company invest less in social media – and half of all top managers interviewed said they don’t even identify with their own corporate identity and culture!
Many companies also show reluctance when it comes to taking advantage of social media to have conversations with clients, use their employees as ambassadors, or recruit clients as product collaborators:
Only half (52%) allow their employees to have access to social media at work, 44% encourage employees to have online conversations with customers, and only 41% said they allow employees to talk about their work on social media. Just 36% have bloggers, and only 40% monitor customer conversations online.
37% actively manage their relationship with fans and ambassadors and just half involve their customers in the creation of new products.
The study highlights the emergence of a digital gap in the corporate world. Companies that already invest in new media will continue to increase their investments in the future, and companies that are not investing as much are likely to continue holding off any future investments. “Even though there is a clear digital evolution amongst the 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”, says Prof Steven Van Belleghem, partner at the research agency InSites Consulting.
For more results and analysis, click here.
About SSI…
SSI is the premier global provider of sampling, data collection and data analytic solutions for survey research. SSI reaches respondents in 72 countries via Internet, telephone, mobile/wireless and mixed access offerings. Value-add services include questionnaire design consultation, programming and hosting, online custom reporting and data processing. SSI serves more than 2,000 clients, including 48 of the top 50 research organizations. SSI has 30 offices serving clients around the world.

Only 10% of companies consider social media as part of their corporate strategy
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