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The Advancement of Social Media within Corporate America

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This week was full of exciting progress in our ongoing
rollout of our new brand campaign, ‘The
power to do more.’
On Tuesday evening we gathered a group of reporters,
bloggers, and industry social media experts together for a dinner to share an
update of the campaign and an overview of our ongoing focus on social media
listening and engagement. Then on Wednesday we hosted a panel discussion with several
corporate social media experts
, moderated by Guy Kawasaki where we also published a
social listening report in connection with Forrester Consulting.

We commissioned Forrester Consulting to look closely at how social media listening
and engagement is transforming businesses
. We know social has made a huge
impact in the way Dell operates and we wanted to better understand its role in
other companies.

Here are a few key points that I wanted to highlight:

  • Social listening and engagement has made big
    strides. More than ¾ of all businesses indicated that they are now monitoring
    online conversations and responding to customer feedback. I believe this is
    huge progress for corporate social media practitioners. However, only 20
    percent of marketers claim that social media is a core part of their marketing
    efforts.  This 20 percent number may seem
    small to some or large to others who are just jumping in and experimenting.
  • Businesses are moving beyond just monitoring.
    Our study found that 64 percent of businesses have leveraged social feedback to
    incorporate customer ideas into process or product improvements. In addition, 32
    percent are enhancing sales by offering incentive programs for customers who
    engage them online. Previous studies have shown that getting deals is a top
    priority for customers who follow brands.
  • As expected, social media objectives differ
    depending on the industry. Banking services and utilities are focused on
    customer support issues; media and entertainment businesses are focused on
    maximizing reach; technology companies are driven to generate leads and new
    business.
  • Finally, while great progress has been made at
    integrating social media into the core of the business, there are still vast
    opportunities for improvement. Only 6 percent of companies responded that their
    social media programs were ‘very integrated’ across their businesses.
    Fragmentation is the norm with social media actively supporting individual
    business line initiatives, but without an integrated approach across the
    organization. Separated by industry the results did show that technology
    companies were integrating social media efforts across business units at
    approximately double the rate of other industries.

Perhaps most startling was a finding related to social media
being used to accomplish corporate objectives (again, differentiated from
individual business line objectives). Only 8 percent of companies felt
‘strongly’ that their listening and digital engagement initiatives were tied to
corporate objectives.

Using social media to drive
customer outcomes and business results continues to be a journey for all
businesses including Dell.  We would love
to hear your thoughts on the findings from the Forrester report and how social
listening and engagement are being implemented within your business. Share your
feedback with us on Twitter using the #DoMore hashtag.

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