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Customer engagement the core motivation for social media - brands

6th Apr 2012
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Customer care and engagement is now the number one reason why businesses use social networks, new research has shown.

Virgin Media Business surveyed 5,000 companies and found 62% log on to social network sites to deal directly with customers. In contrast, a combined 23% cited raising brand awareness and sales generation as reasons for logging on.

According to the report, nearly half (43%) of UK companies have a social media presence, an  8% rise from last year. However, companies are particular as to where they represent their orgniations online, with Facebook regarded as the most important (34%) followed by Twitter (24%), said the report.

Only 8% of companies are currently using location based sites, such as FourSquare and only 2% offer customers direct deals and promotions, according to the figures. This is expected to rise significantly over the next decade with 38% of companies forecasting more geo-location deals set up with banks or supermarkets, said Virgin Media Business.

Phil Stewart from Virgin Media Business said: “Businesses are starting to work out the areas where social networking can really sing for them. There’s no point having a presence on every site unless you can dedicate the right amount of attention to it. Location based sites, such as FourSquare, have fallen behind others as companies have taken the view that they simply can’t manage all these sites at the same time.

“Being app savvy in this way is helping companies to get the most from social networking sites and become more strategic about using them. It’ll mean dedicated social media staff can focus their efforts and deliver real value to the organisation and its customers.

“In time, companies are expected to broaden their social networking presence. But why run before you can walk. Managing these online assets can be logistically challenging, so firms need to have clear communication channels to ensure there’s no confusion about maintaining them. It’s a lot easier to do that when it’s just one or two rather than a dozen.”

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