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Big businesses still struggling to embrace social media

Graeme Parton

Around 60 per cent of major consumer-facing companies have at least one full-time social media-dedicated staff member, but just 10 per cent are  benefiting from the investment, according to the results of research released earlier this month.

Figures from the new study, carried out by India-based IT firm Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), show that the most effective social network users are creating their own content to publish online.

In total, 81 per cent are using industry-related blogs, 77 per cent have their own mobile apps for the benefit of consumers and 61 per cent run dedicated video channels using tools like Vine and YouTube.

In the report – Mastering Digital Feedback: How the Best Consumer Companies Use Social Media – the researchers from TCS questioned more than 650 businesses with an average revenue of $15.6 billion. Those questioned represented 11 different industries, including retail, banking, technology, utilities and entertainment.

The study also revealed that, on average, the social media spending of each of the surveyed businesses is around $19 million, with 56 dedicated staff members.

The head of digital enterprise at TCS, Satya Ramaswamy, said that although consumer-to-consumer interaction was the main focus of the social platforms – with recommendations and positive reviews both viable methods of promotion – most companies’ use is limited to business-to-consumer marketing.

He went on to suggest that company bosses need to encourage staff to be as social as possible and share content internally in order to maximise the effects on those outside of the business. The firms’ decision-makers could benefit, for example, from taking more notice of comments published between consumers on sites like Twitter and Facebook.

Interestingly, it was found that companies in the media and entertainment sector have been using social media to build relationships for the longest period of time.

Graeme has experience creating content for online sources and for the radio, and at university he studied Multimedia Journalism.

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