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Brands Don't Use Social Media Effectively

January 19, 2011
  |  27,587 views

Though growing numbers of companies are using social channels to connect with their customers, only 12% of business executives say their companies are using social media effectively, according to a study by Harvard Business Review Analytic Services.

Another 45% of business execs say their companies are "getting there" in effectively using social media, and nearly an equal number (43%) rate their use of social media as ineffective.


Such "effective" users are far more likely to use more social media channels—four or more—and report having developed and implemented a social media strategy: 63% say they've done so.

Below, other findings from study titled The New Conversation: Taking Social Media from Talk to Action, based on a survey of 2,100 senior-level business executives.


Among surveyed business execs, 58% say their companies are now using social media channels and 21% say they're preparing to launch social initiatives.

Even so, most companies using social media have yet to fully leverage customer interactions via social channels:

  • 42% say they don't know where their most valuable customers are talking about them.
  • 31% say they don't measure the effectiveness of social media interactions.
  • 23% are using social media analytic tools.
  • 7% say they integrate social media into their marketing activities.

Companies also struggle to gauge the effectiveness of social media. Asked to identify the most pressing challenges in implementing social media marketing, business execs cite the following:

  • Understanding social media's potential to make a difference: 41%
  • Measuring the effectiveness of social marketing activities: 40%
  • Linking social marketing activities to financial outcomes: 31%
  • Improving ability to fully utilize social media: 28%
  • Demonstrating the value of social media to others in the organization: 25%

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