Corporate Eye

Social Media Goals for U.S. Companies Defined

social-media-internet_and_future___The 2010 Benchmarking Study by Ketchum and FedEx researched 62 businesses from a number of different industries to learn how those businesses’ social media goals compare to their engagement levels on the social web.

Interestingly, the goals of most businesses, regardless of industry, are similar.  Leading social media goals of U.S. companies were identified in the study as:

  • Increase awareness and interaction with our brand: 94.1%
  • Create a community for our customers and fans: 76.1%
  • Increase traffic to our website: 55.1%
  • Identify and react to customer needs: 50.3%
  • Identify new business opportunities or leads: 49.0%

While companies are very much at different stages of social media adoption (only 10% claim to be in leadership positions in the social media space compared to 75% who are in the participation stage and 15% who are still only in the observation stage), there is a growing understanding that social media is essential to an integrated marketing communications strategy.

In other words, the days of ignoring social media or labeling it as a short-term fad are long gone.  Businesses that aren’t at least participating in the social media conversation are very much in the minority today, meaning other companies are reaping the rewards that social media participation can deliver to businesses and brands.

Clearly, as the study results mentioned above demonstrate, companies understand the importance of leveraging social media to increase brand awareness and interaction.  Nearly all companies included in the study stated that a key objective of social media participation is to raise brand awareness and interaction.

Even a small amount of social media participation can help raise brand awareness, so it’s not surprising that branding is a social media goal for most companies.   Brand managers understand that, and it’s good to see more executives buying into the importance of social media for brand-building.  After all, strong brands can help build a company and sustain it through challenging times.  Would a company like Playboy still be around today given the ups and downs it has faced throughout its lifecycle if the Playboy brand weren’t one of the most recognized brands in the world?  It’s doubtful.  Therefore, having access to social media for brand-building and business-building is an opportunity that companies can no longer ignore or claim they can do without.  Instead, social media marketing is a business imperative.

What do you think?

Image: stock.xchng

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Susan Gunelius is the author of 10 marketing, social media, branding, copywriting, and technology books, and she is President & CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company. She also owns Women on Business, an award-wining blog for business women. She is a featured columnist for Entrepreneur.com and Forbes.com, and her marketing-related articles have appeared on websites such as MSNBC.com, BusinessWeek.com, TodayShow.com, and more. She has over 20 years of experience in the marketing field having spent the first decade of her career directing marketing programs for some of the largest companies in the world, including divisions of AT&T and HSBC. Today, her clients include large and small companies around the world and household brands like Citigroup, Cox Communications, Intuit, and more. Susan is frequently interviewed about marketing and branding by television, radio, print, and online media organizations, and she speaks about these topics at events around the world. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google+.
 
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