While three out of 10 large brands are employing social media in a bid to acquire new customers, less than 1% consider the channel key to achieving customer service goals.
According to a survey among 400 senior marketing executives at major brands by marketing software provider Alterian, a further 26% said that a key objective of engaging with social media was to drive brand awareness, while 24% saw it as an important means of retaining customers.
David Eldridge, Alterian’s chief executive, said: "It’s surprising that brands are reporting that they don’t highly value deploying customer service in the social media channel. Many are underutilising this approach as all brands need to be prepared to handle their customers’ complaints and act on them."
While marketers may have different aims to customer service personnel, it was important to have a cross-channel strategy in place as well as to integrate outreach in order to maximise brand exposure and positive feedback, he added.
Around nine out of 10 of those questioned agreed that cross-channel coordination was vital for a successful marketing campaign, while 61% said that brand engagement occurred in both online and offline forums, which included social media.
As a result, three out of four respondents said that they were either ‘somewhat’ or ‘extremely’ involved with the channel, while only 22% had not engaged with it very much and 3% not at all.
On the downside, meanwhile, 37% of marketers said that were unable to measure return on investment for their social media activities, while 42% were only able to do so to a certain extent. Despite this, 57% thought their expenditure to date had been worthwhile compared with 35% who believed it was too early to tell.