The business of going social

  • Social media acknowledged as beneficial, developing coherent strategy remains major impediment
  • Tracking metrics still not established; rules of engagement need to be consistent with real-life scenarios

The business of going socialWHILE enterprises in Malaysia generally acknowledge the power of social media as a genuine tool to enhance prospects and create brand awareness amongst consumers, they do not comprehensively understand how it impacts their business, nor do they have formal methodologies to track its return-on-investment (ROI), revealed a new study by PwC.
The global consulting firm’s study Getting social: Social media in business noted that 69% of companies say they have at least agreed on goals for their social media activities, but many don’t have a clear strategy or formal performance measurement initiatives in place to track social media ROI. 
Of the 69% who responded, 28% have actually agreed on goals, 10% have already communicated these goals to the stakeholders, while 31% are monitoring and adapting their existing goals, the report noted.
Additionally, more than half (57%) of companies don’t track the impact of their social media activity on their business, such as through sales leads and email subscriptions. As for building social media into KPIs (key performance indicators), only 27% are already using KPIs to measure how successful their social media efforts are, the report added.
On budgets set aside for tracking social media, 59% of survey respondents don’t have a budget yet (35% have no budget at all while 24% are in the process of developing one), it noted.
“Brands in Malaysia still believe in tried and tested forms of [traditional] advertising [although] the shelf life of a print ad is rather limited. Advertisements or campaigns on social media channels, on the other hand, are often much less costly and they can be reused and re-promoted, over and over again.
“But as social media is often relegated to a minor role in companies, they make do with a shoestring budget for their social media initiatives, without the help of comprehensive monitoring and measurement tools,” the report read.
The PwC study also highlighted that 70% agree or strongly agree that C-suite participation in social media helps their leadership respond better in times of crisis.
The business of going socialAnd in a separate online straw poll PwC conducted among social media users, 77% of respondents feel that a chief executive officer's presence on social media directly impacts how they feel about the brand.
That said, most of the C-suite (47%) use social media purely on a personal basis while only 29% use it to engage with external customers.
“This can be attributed to the fact that many at this level of seniority aren’t digital natives, hence they are not naturally inclined to explore social media for business purposes,” the report said.
Another significant highlight was the fact that less than half (46%) have guidelines on using social media for their employees, a poor reflection of Malaysian enterprises’ understanding of the business risks associated with the use of social media.
Other selected findings of the survey include:

  • Seven in 10 social media users feel that Malaysian businesses are not doing enough to embrace social media as a business tool; 
  • Seven in 10 social media users refer to a brand’s social media presence before making a decision;
  • Eight in 10 social media users agree that social media at the workplace drives innovation.
  • Three in 10 have not identified nor developed KPIs to measure the success of their social media activities; and
  • Six in 10 don’t have a budget for social media yet.

Conducted between June 5 and June 28 this year and culled from a total of 101 responses comprising public listed companies, multinationals, private companies, and government agencies, the respondents were spread across a range of industries, organisation structures and sizes to ensure fair market representation, PwC said.
The firm said the majority of those polled via a 30 multiple-choice questionnaire had an annual revenue of more than RM1 billion (US$311 million), with 64% of respondents being in the public relations/ corporate communication field; 17% specialising in social media/ digital marketing, and 11% comprised C-suite/ senior management.

Next: Are there tools to track social media effectively? What are the rules of engagement?

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