Companies which strongly integrate social media in their processes obtain better financial company results than companies where social media is not integrated. This is one of the most remarkable conclusions of InSites Consulting research with 400 senior marketers in England and America. And this positive relation goes even further. A good integration of social media also means a higher impact of marketing communication and an increase of satisfied customers. Agreed, research cannot give the answer to ‘chicken or egg’ discussion. Companies with good results and satisfied customers may adopt social media integration more rapidly. So the conclusion is: both have a positive relation.
High social networks adoption, low social media integration adoption
The results of the research confirmed that the majority of companies is present on social network sites. 68% has a Facebook page, 56% a Twitter account and 47% a LinkedIn company page. In other words: the majority of companies found their way to social network sites. On the other hand, the results show that the social media integration is still in its infancy. Only 14% states that social media are fully integrated in the company’s operational management. Personally I think 14% is rather high. When studying the results I noticed that mainly smaller service companies from the marketing sector confirm this conclusion. 38% of the companies indicates not doing anything or only just having started up the process. The other 47% is in the experimental stage and is working towards the integration.
Three elements determine a successful integration
In order to successfully integrate social media, three elements are important according to this survey’s marketers:
- First of all some specific investments have to be made, the main ones being: investing in training the employees and preparing the technical infrastructure.
- Secondly there is a need for an evolution when drawing up the (marketing) plans. This evolution starts with thinking about some pilots until the full integration of social media in all plans. According to the research it is interesting to create one’s own social media accounts as pilot, as is creating a fan community, setting up a blog, and guiding a product launch via social media.
- Thirdly it is important that the social media initiatives are in line with the culture and values of the company in question. The survey indicates that companies characterised by values such as ‘open’, ‘authentic’ and ‘positivism’ achieve social media integration more rapidly.
Evidently companies want to make the added value of their social media integration as tangible as possible. Therefore some objectives have been set. The parameters used most frequently to measure success are: leads generated via social media (52%), online reach (46%), adoption of social media amongst one’s own employees (34%), the impact/sentiment of online conversations (34%) and influencing characteristics, e.g. Klout score (28%).
The majority of companies is evaluating how to integrate social media in the company processes in an influential way. The positive relation between social media integration and the company results encourages continuing on this path of change. What struck me is the role taken by the company culture in this story. Companies with an open, positive and authentic culture advance the quickest. Furthermore social media offer the option to make the company culture very tangible. This entails an increase in transparency and a clear view for the market of what the company really represents.
All details of this research can be consulted in the below presentation and infographic: