Conflicting business social media reports open opportunities

The only thing certain about surveys of the business use of social media is that the trend is UP.

While Citibank recently foundCitibank Survey Reveals Small Businesses Not Joining Social Media Conversation” the opposite was true in Asia according to report in the Singapore Straits Times.

According to the Citibank survey of 500 small business executives across the United States:

  • 76% have not found social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to be helpful in generating business leads or for expanding their business during the last year; while
  • 86% say they have not used social networking sites to get business advice or information.

On the other hand “Asian firms go big on Twitter and Facebook” declares the Singaporean article which reported that usage of social media marketing by Asian businesses included these stats:

  • Singapore 72% had a presence on social media platforms such as YouTube or Twitter; of these,
  • 79% had a presence on Facebook;
  • 80% of those polled planned to put a larger proportion of their marketing budget towards social media marketing in the future; another
  • 87% of the key marketing managers and executives at these companies already had accounts on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

You can see that the surveys actually measure different things – sales leads in the US versus presencein Asia. However there is more potential among Asian business owners, based upon these surveys, since a positive attitude towards social media gives a better chance of engaging and building relationships.

Since nearly 90% of the US business owners say that they themselves don’t use social networking for business advice or information it’s unlikely they can engage with potential customers who are in the social media places and spaces. It’s hard to teach someone to ride a bike if you have not ridden one yourself!

Meanwhile a survey in Australia found “Big brands are failing social networking test”, reporting that across Australia’s top 20 brands:

  • 40% had a Twitter account, but 44% of those were dormant or rarely used; and,
  • few companies have a strategic approach to social networking.

Australia’s top companies are still experimenting with social media for stakeholder communication, mostly limiting activity to a single social media channel. Few companies are yet using top social media platforms in a strategic, or integrated, manner across multiple channels,” according to the report.

Where are the opportunities?

In Australia, it’s in helping the top executives understand how to develop and implement and operate a social media strategy. I’m sure that they understand the value of social media, the challenge is “how”?How to implement a strategy in a complex organisation – this is a particular area where the Social Media Academy specializes.

Colorful-sales-leads-mm In Asia it is in converting the positive attitude and presence into business relationships and sales, that is, ensuring activities become effective.

In the US, for smaller businesses, it seems there it a large opportunity foreducation and especially in business social media skill development.

Of course surveys often have their own agenda, yet despite this and some apparentless then positive results, the potential for social media in business is bigger today than it was yesterday – for those that get it right.

PS a new report ranks 50 US brands on Facebook and the qualification and then ranking criteria look quite well thought out. Interesting how Vitaminwater gets right up there (although it is a subsidiary of the #1 FB50 company – Coca-Cola – it is said to be run very independently).

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