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Despite widespread adoption of social media marketing, most companies are still learning how to integrate those efforts into their overall corporate strategies: 78% of surveyed companies say they actively use social media, but just 41% say those efforts are part of a strategic game plan, according to a survey from Digital Brand Expressions (DBE).

Overall, Marketing is in charge of social media: 71% of companies that now work from a strategic plan say the marketing department has primary responsibility for creating and maintaining the firm's social media presence; 29% cite communication departments, and 16% cite the executive team.

Below, other findings Social Media Without a Parachute, a DBE study based on a survey of 100 companies.

Although social media is now being applied throughout the enterprise, 94% of companies who work from a social media plan say they use the channel for marketing; 71% cite public relations, and 55% cite sales-related activities.

Just 26% of companies leverage social media for customer service, and only 16% say their human resources department uses it for activities such as recruiting, employee retention, and training and development.

Among the companies that work from a social media communications plan, most planning-related activities center around operational issues, such as allocating resources for ongoing social media efforts (90%) and registering branded usernames on key social media sites (77%).
Other social media plan-related activities:

  • Researching brand competitors' and key stakeholders' social media use: 74%
  • Setting up metrics/tracking methods to measure ROI: 71%
  • Specifying proper configurations of account settings on key social sites: 55%
  • Planning for ongoing monitoring of brand reputation in the social media environment: 52%
  • Developing protocols and policies for ongoing communications, including how to respond to positive/negative comments on social media websites: 45%
  • Distributing guidelines for employees regarding general use of social media for personal and professional use: 39%

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Companies' priorities are different when asked what they want as part of their social media communications plans. Allocating resources for social media is still top of mind (76%), but developing protocols and policies is more of a concern (71%), compared with the 45% of companies that now focus on such activities as part of a plan.

Similarly, planning for ongoing monitoring of brand reputation is a key concern (71%), compared with the 52% of companies that now focus on it.

The most dramatic concern is in how social media use is spreading throughout the organization: 67% of companies cite a need for developing protocols and policies for social media use across departments (e.g., guidelines for Sales, Customer Service, and Human Resources), but just 39% of companies now focus on such activities as part of their plan.

Asked which department should have primary responsibility for social media, 74% of companies say social media should be marketing's responsibility, but over one-half (51%) view the channel as a corporate communications function and 28% say it should be the responsibility of the executive team.

About the data: Findings are from a survey of 100 companies conducted by Digital Brand Expressions in May 2010. 

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