ME firm’s social media usage ‘not effective’
Dubai, June 3, 2012
The majority of respondents (46.8 per cent) in a survey believe that social media is not being used effectively by the region’s companies, suggesting that proper education in the medium is essential for success.
Eight out of every ten respondents (81.6 per cent) claim that the potential for social media to damage a company’s reputation is one of the biggest challenges to overcome, according to the poll “Corporate Usage of Social Media in the Middle East” conducted by leading job site bayt.com.
Aside from the risk of reputation damage, the top three perceived challenges to social media are difficulty in monetizing online presence (11.3 per cent), getting the tone of message correct (11.3 per cent), and keeping up with feedback (10.5 per cent).
Other challenges that were cited were the complexity of measuring return on investment and problems with keeping up-to-date with the ever-changing tools and technologies. In fact, a majority (20.7 per cent) stated that they believe all of these factors are challenging, the survey said.
According to the poll 12 per cent of respondents do not know what may present a challenge for corporate social media involvement. Despite reservations, social media usage is considered to be ‘common’ in the region by four out of ten (42.8 per cent) poll takers, and half (51.1 per cent) say that their company uses the medium.
“When asked what they consider to be most important in a successful corporate social media page, more than a quarter of respondents said that they want content that is ‘informative and educational’. Companies looking to implement a successful social media strategy should bear this in mind when launching a new page,” said Lama Ataya, CMO, Bayt.com.
“Social media is a dynamic force that is being manifested today in both the personal and professional realms. Bayt.com provides essential statistics and tools to assist employers and job seekers in building the most successful online profile in order to boost their recruitment and personal or corporate brand potential.”
Other highly-desired features are that a social media page should be ‘fun and interesting’ (17.8 per cent); provide customer service and feedback (14.9 per cent); promptly answer all comments and queries (13.2 per cent) and that it should be updated frequently (11.7 per cent).
In terms of the latter, almost a third (29.3 per cent) of respondents state that their company updates their social media pages once a day.
Social media is viewed as a means of boosting brand exposure, communicating and interacting with customers, promoting new initiatives, recruiting staff and maintaining an online presence, Ataya said.
According to 47.5 per cent of the Bayt.com poll takers, social media activity has been largely successful in driving traffic to their company’s website, with a further 38.2 per cent claiming that they have been successful in converting fans into customers.
Along those lines, four out of ten (43.3 per cent) respondents believe that their company’s social media strategy is ‘excellent’, and half say that their company sounds ‘friendly’ in its online interactions.
More companies handle their social media internally than those who outsource (39.1 per cent versus 35.6 per cent), with most (35.9 per cent) assigning the job to a single individual. A third (31.6 per cent) of those who responded to the poll did not know who was responsible for their company’s social media accounts.
Companies with social media presence predominantly appear to involve all of their employees to some degree in their online applications: a collective 62.3 per cent state that their colleagues are either ‘moderately’ or ‘extremely involved’. Roughly nine out of ten (86.1 per cent) would participate in their company’s social media activities, if given the chance.
Almost half of the respondents (47.6 per cent) currently follow a Middle East corporate social media presence, and six out of ten (60.2 per cent) believe that there will be a dramatic increase in the corporate usage of social media within a year.
Despite the high interest employees have in social media, guidelines for its usage are only provided by 40.2 per cent of companies, as opposed to the 45.1 per cent that do not issue any.
Thought aligns with fact in terms of the most popular social networks for companies to use: 72.1 per cent believe that Facebook is the most commonly used, while a majority of 65.5 per cent confirms that it is the network of choice of their company.
In terms of popularity, other sites used are Google+ (10.7 per cent), LinkedIn (9.7 per cent), Twitter (3.4 per cent) and YouTube (2.8 per cent). MySpace and Tumblr are used by 0.3 per cent each. A combination of the aforementioned networks is used by 4.2 per cent, while 3.1 per cent claim to use other sites, the survey said. – TradeArabia News Service