FROM huge multinationals to small start ups, confusion still reigns in business as to how to join the social media revolution and tap into its vast marketing potential.
Just as social media is transforming the way individuals communicate with each other, the business community is increasingly asking itself just how to it can best harnessed social networking in order to drive everything from brand promotional and increased sales to improved customer services.
The potential for Social Media – Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Linkedin etc… – to open up previously untapped markets, promote products, keep in touch with existing customers and build partnerships with other businesses and organisations is the subject of constant debate.
However, evidence on exactly how businesses are using social media and which sectors are embracing it and which are not is still sketchy.
Devon-based Online marketing specialists Optix Solutions recently launched a comprehensive survey aimed at gathering an accurate, up-to-the-minute picture of business’s experiences of social media, both good and bad.
The multiple choice questions look at areas such as why your business does or does not use social media, how many employees are engaged in it and what problems your organisation has experienced in implementing a social media strategy.
Optix’s comprehensive online survey will provide the basis of a White Paper report on how effectively businesses are harnessing social networks as part of their online marketing strategies and internal communications, to be published later this year.
“Using Social Media effectively requires businesses to engage with potential customers in an entirely new way,” explains Optix director Alastair Banks.
“Social networking is very different from conventional marketing. It’s not about hard sell, it’s about opening up a dialogue with people, not just to let them know about your products, brand or what you do, but also to let them tell you what they want and learning and adapting accordingly.
“When properly employed, Social Media provides a vast opportunity to business to reach new audiences, nationally and globally, and with it increase profits.
“But it has to be done right. It is no good adding social media technology to your website if you don’t really understand how to engage with it. We want to find out exactly how businesses are rising, or otherwise, to this latest technological challenge.”
All businesses are invited to take part, even if they are not currently using Social Media at all. Reasons for not getting involved in social networking are of just as much interest as the experiences of businesses that have made Social Media part and parcel of everyday operations.
The idea for the report came from the Like Minds conference held earlier this year, of which Optix were proud sponsors, which brought together some of the country’s leading Social Media and Online Marketing experts.
Optix have received responses from the likes of Microsoft, Hospiscare, Devon and Cornwall Police Authority, South West Water and the Big Lottery Fund, but would like to hear from as many businesses and organisations as possible nationwide, regardless of size, industry or location.