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November 3, 2011

Nearly half of UK businesses underestimate social media comments: survey

70% businesses say they have a strategy in place to monitor and respond to comments posted on social sites

By CBR Staff Writer

Nearly half (48%) of middle managers and above from UK companies that have a social media presence are failing to recognise the significance of customer comments on social media sites for their company or brand, according to a new survey by Interactive Intelligence.

The survey conducted by YouGov on behalf of Interactive Intelligence, revealed that the vast majority of large businesses, at least a significant 56%, already have a prominent social media presence on sites such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Furthermore, 70% of respondents have, or plan to have, a strategy in place to monitor and respond to comments posted on these social sites.

Despite having these building blocks in place, only 13% of businesses that use social media think it’s a high priority to interact with customers and prospects via social media.

On the contrary to the current report, YouGov’s previous report on a sample of the UK population in April 2011 revealed that 41% of consumers who use social media are influenced by both positive and negative comments about a brand or company on social media sites.

Interactive Intelligence UK, Middle East & Africa regional sales director Dave Paulding said the companies surveyed recognise the importance of having a presence on social networking sites, yet the question remains – are they using it to its full advantage?

"Results from both of these surveys highlight a worrying gap between the customer and the company," Paulding said.

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"Customers say they are influenced by comments made on social media channels, yet only 6% of the managers surveyed felt comments posted on social media sites were ‘very influential’ to the perception of their company or brand.

"Another result from the survey highlights that nearly two thirds of large companies (65%) are likely to increase or enhance their social media presence in the next 12 months. Whilst this is promising, it’s not enough to simply have a strategy in place.

"Companies need to recognise the impact of customer and prospect comments on these platforms, and ensure they are monitored and responded to in a timely fashion by the most appropriate person within an organisation."

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