Magazine article CRM Magazine

Companies Will Promote Products on Social Media: Attention Shifts from Gathering Product Feedback to Greater Customer Engagement

Magazine article CRM Magazine

Companies Will Promote Products on Social Media: Attention Shifts from Gathering Product Feedback to Greater Customer Engagement

Article excerpt

More companies plan to leverage social media for bidirectional feedback rather than just use it as a one-way broadcast communication mechanism, according to IDC's latest Social Business Survey. The survey polled 700 senior executives in the United States to reveal their current and future technology and business plans, perceptions, and experiences related to social media/networking.

This is in sharp contrast to 2012, when, according to Vanessa Thompson, research manager in the Enterprise Social Networks and Collaborative Technologies practice at IDC, "the focus of social initiatives was to gather feedback and respond to employees, customers, partners, and suppliers.. .to capture and understand all of the relevant brand, product, [and] company discussions primarily on customer-facing social media."

Today companies are using social media more proactively to raise awareness of products and services and create ongoing dialogues with customers, employees, partners, and suppliers, Thompson wrote in a recent blog post.

According to the research, 45 percent of companies cited creating awareness as a priority behind their social efforts.

The research also identified that, when it comes to social software, businesses are most interested in building online communities, with 35 percent of respondents desiring this capability. Twenty-seven percent of companies will look to social media for idea sourcing, and 26 percent will seek out innovation management through social media.

In Europe, another IDC survey found a similar increase in projects related to social media: More than twice the number of organizations that have already implemented social media programs were planning on doing so this year. Internal social networks, external social networks, and lead generation were cited as the most popular social business activities for implementation there.

Of all of the business uses, social communities have perhaps the greatest potential for building relationships with customers, partners, and suppliers, whether in peer-to-peer customer communities or through direct interaction with a company through a managed community, according to Thompson.

"Companies will continue to learn from social deployments, and as social capabilities are applied to an increasing number of use cases, a more granular set of business value metrics will emerge," Thompson wrote in the report. "However, there is still a broad set of business-use cases in customer experience, employee experience (empowerment), and partner experience (including partner and supplier enablement) that can be augmented by additional social capabilities to drive increased business value. …

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