Security concerns discouraging firms from social media

13th Aug 2010

Although most organisations believe that social media can help improve customer communications, many are avoiding the channel today due to security concerns, difficulties in justifying investment and problems in measuring outcomes.

According to a survey among 300 UK business decision-makers and IT executives undertaken by enterprise content management software provider Open Text, only half of respondents are currently employing social media, with 41% considering security as a long-term barrier to adoption. A further 20% were worried about their lack of control over corporate messaging.

Nonetheless, of those that had gone down this route, 43% said that they had done so because social media provided a direct and personal means of speaking to customers and partners.

A huge 95% of the total also thought that the channel provided an opportunity to improve communication with both internal and external audiences, while a quarter expected it to help them improve customer service.

A second study undertaken among 105 brand managers by Harris Interactive on behalf of Facebook management software provider Buddy Media, meanwhile, appeared to confirm the results.

The study entitled ‘Reaching Customers in Local Markets’ revealed that, only a third of large companies with revenues of more than $100 million were using social media sites such as Facebook.

The biggest obstacles to adoption were the management and maintenance of information and measuring outcomes. Other problems included being able to keep regional and country-specific information fresh.

But a huge 93% of respondents also said they had difficulties in providing a unified brand message to consumers in local markets. Key challenges in this context related to finding ways of undertaking such activity cost-effectively and establishing suitable metrics to track return on investment.

Michael Lazerow, Buddy Media’s founder and chief executive, said: "In order for brands to effectively reach consumers across the globe, they need to heed the traditional marketing/PR maxim of thinking global and acting local. Cost, scale, segmented audiences, inconsistent design and incomplete analytics are all local branding dilemmas that companies have faced."

Some 72% of respondents said that, while social media had the potential to help them reach existing and potential customers around the world, they currently lacked the necessary information and tools to exploit the channel successfully, however.

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