A new global study by Weber Shandwick and Forbes Insights asks brand and communications executives about online ‘sociability’ – social media strategy and use – for their brand. Today, 52% of global brand executives see sociability as a contributor to overall brand reputation; in three years, that number is estimated to be 65%.
Yet while 93% use at least one social media tool and 87% have a social media strategy in place, only 16% believe their brand’s sociability is currently up to world class standards. Why the disconnect, and what exactly makes a social media strategy world class?
According to the study, these main elements drive leading brand online sociability:
- Creating original content – 45% of world class brands create content specifically for social media, vs. just 28% of all global companies
- Using social tools – world class brands are 44% more likely to offer brand-related mobile content, 43% more likely to use location-based “check-in” apps, 41% more likely to do proximity marketing and 40% more likely to have a branded YouTube channel
- Keeping the brand voice consistent – brands with world class social media strategy are nearly twice as likely to maintain a consistent brand personality across social and traditional media channels
- Dedicating personnel – 61% of world class brands have a dedicated social media strategist/manager, compared to only 41% of all global brands
- Listening to consumers via social – nearly twice as many world class brands have changed a product/service based on fan recommendations compared to the average global brand
- Respecting social input – social contributors are ranked #1 by world class companies but #6 by other companies as a key metric
- Continuing to expand – world class brands consider global reach just as important as customer service in terms of driving corporate reputation; yet the average global executive ranks global reach last
- Monitoring from the outside – world class companies are nearly twice as likely as average global companies to engage outside support to measure their brand’s social performance
- Protecting privacy – world class brands are always on ‘high alert’ to protect their social brand integrity, and are 58% more likely to be concerned about privacy violations
Respondents agreed that the rewards of using social media far outweigh the risks, by a margin of more than 2-to-1. “While there are inherent risks in socializing a brand, it is no longer an option to go without a social presence,” said Leslie Gaines-Ross, chief reputation strategist, Weber Shandwick, in the study’s press release.
Is your brand working toward a world class social media presence?
The research found relatively few differences across regions, but click here for the highlights: “Socializing Your Brand: A Brand’s Guide to Sociability.” The study was conducted online in spring 2011 among 1,897 senior executives from high revenue companies, across 50 countries in North America, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Asia Pacific and Latin America.