As many as 22% of companies have no social media strategy

22% of companies have no social media strategyIt may seems staggering that in the digital, social age companies feel they can communicate effectively without using social media, but that is the case according to the latest Grayling Pulse survey.

It found that a staggering 22% of the companies that responded did not have a social media strategy.

Perhaps more worrying is that of the companies that did have a social media strategy just 39% of them say that it is integrated into their wider approach to communications.

Siloing off digital is a rather common communications error, and can lead to the types of corporate communication mishaps we have long highlighted here on The Wall.

The survey points to the problem going all the way to the top as only 44% of CEO’s from the 1100 companies who took part in the survey were involved personally in socially media.

Social must be integrated for it to be effective and back up a brands wider message. The lack of CEO usage indicates a lack of buy-in from the top. Social media is seen as an non essential extra burden, instead of a critical way to communicate with potential customers.

There is also a continental divide in social media usage. As many as 78% of Western European companies that took part in the survey use social media, while only 61.3% of those in Central and Eastern Europe and Eurasia based companies use it. Perhaps this is not surprising, given the user base for services such as Twitter – which as we reported last week is dominated by English speaking nations.

Victor Benady, global head of social media for Grayling said the data pointed to the chasm between the ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’ growing increasingly wider in 2012.

“It seems remarkable that 22 per cent of the companies we surveyed have no social media strategy whatsoever whilst at the opposite end of the scale 71 per cent have a strategy and are getting under the skin of the reputational challenges of social media. What does that mean for the ‘have nots’? Only time will tell if their lack of digital voice will negatively impact on their business but why are they even waiting to find out? It seems like a huge risk to take,” Benday said.

Benady is right. People are now continually praising and criticising brands for their services on social media, and not being a part of the conversation means that the brand’s reputation is left in the hands of others.

There are a variety of reasons why companies have chosen to partake in social media though. Interestingly, selling more of a product was not high on the list, featuring in only 11% companies’ concerns. More prominent was “improved reputation” and “awareness”, with 21.4% and 22.1% respectively of respondents saying that is why they blog, tweet, post on Facebook  etc.

According to Benady this suggests that many are embracing the complexities of social media.

“When it comes to the reasons why companies are adopting social media as part of their wider communications strategy and practices, of course awareness is important, but the fact that ‘improved reputation’ features so highly, suggests that many are embracing the complexities of the medium to achieve much deeper and more sophisticated business objectives.

Main image Bigstockphoto.com.