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Social media: Companies still ignore their customers

Tweets and Facebook comments go ignored, finds survey
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Written by Nick Heath on

Tweets and Facebook comments go ignored, finds survey

Businesses are failing to tap into social media to listen to what their customers want, according to a survey by business analytics software maker SAS.

Less than a quarter of the 2,100 companies surveyed use social media analytic tools to look at what customers are saying about them through sites such as Twitter and Facebook, and only seven per cent use data gathered from social networks to inform their marketing strategies.

And while half of the companies surveyed use social media sites to broadcast marketing messages, only a quarter feel that this approach has raised awareness of the business and its products.

Speaking at the SAS Premier Business Leadership Series conference in Las Vegas yesterday, marketing strategist and author David Meerman Scott said: "Any company that insists on talking about their products is misusing social media.

"It is treating social networking as advertising rather than treating it as a way of engaging [audiences] - unfortunately that is the way that some companies treat social media."

Businesses are failing to listen to what their customers are saying on social networks

Businesses are failing to listen to what their customers are saying on social networks
(Photo credit: Shutterstock)

As well as listening to what customers are saying on social networks, companies should use social media to put out interesting content that people want to share, Scott said.

He praised aerospace company Boeing for hiring journalists to produce high value content for its social media platforms – complimenting the quality of their recent coverage of the Farnborough International Air Show.

Tom Davenport, president's distinguished professor of IT and management at the US business school, Babson College, said that by failing to analyse social media channels companies are missing out on an important tool for judging the success of brands, products or services.

Businesses are planning a greater use of social media analytical tools in future though: the survey found that 36 per cent of companies plan to conduct customer sentiment analysis via social media channels in the next two to three years and that 33 per cent are planning to begin social monitoring programmes.

SAS said that in January next year it will launch Conversation Center, a product designed to help companies capture and identify tweets relevant to a company or its products.

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