Social media is rapidly changing the way consumers and companies interact. Consumers are more empowered and companies have greater opportunities to interact with customers on a more personal level. However, a lack of organizational change, integrated technology, and staffing skills prohibit such opportunities from becoming reality.A new report from Alterian called "Your Brand: At risk or Ready for Growth? Building Relationships With Your Customers in an Era of Social Change," reveals just how challenged organizations are in terms of leveraging social channels to communicate with customers.
From a survey of 1,000 adults in the U.S. and the U.K., 91 percent of respondents said they regularly engage in social media, and 82 percent stated that co-creation opportunities via social media would make them more likely to tell others about the company. However, 66 percent of marketers said they plan to invest in social media marketing in 2010, and only 14 percent believe social media is critical for success. Further, 42 percent of marketers do not integrate their web analytics data into the customer database and 61 percent don't integrate their Web analytics data with any other customer data. In addition, 57 percent said they plan to invest in individuals engaging on their websites, and only 36 percent plan to invest in social media monitoring tools.
Despite the changes in the way customers engage in social channels, evidence suggests a lack of readiness on the part of companies. Therefore it's crucial for organizations to start discussing long-term strategies and enabling cross-channel integration to prepare for far-reaching social change.