Most companies don’t know where the customers are!

More than 2,000 organizations were surveyed. Harvard Business Review aske them to offer feedback and best practices on how to understand the potential of social media and measure its effectiveness. How to integrate it into your overall marketing strategy and show the link to company financials.

The survey “The New Conversation: Taking Social Media from Talk to Action” found that a lot of companies are still fumbling with social media. Some of the findings include:

  • 75% of companies do not know where their most valuable customers are talking about them
  • Less than a quarter (23%) use social media analytics tools
  • Only 7% are integrating social media into other marketing activities, such as campaign management, retail analytics, CRM and business intelligence
  • 31 percent do not measure effectiveness of social media
  • 12% of the companies in the survey said they felt they were currently effective users of social media
Check out the related post: Social Media ROI Will Become Important. Until now people have experimented with low budgets and without very specific goals. The bigger budgets will bring an need to show return.

This last number is much smaller than I thought. In our own survey we found that only one third of the marketers actually measure the ROI of their social media activities. Of course, this may depend on the definition of “measure effectiveness of social media”.

The attitude towards social media is mostly positive as more than two thirds (69%) of the respondents see the use of social media going up significantly in their organizations.


On average organizations are using 3 different social media channels. Most often these include social networks and blog with addition of multimedia sharing or microblogging. This is in step with our own survey of Estonian marketers who were only using a little less blogs.



Interestingly a quarter of the respondents said that they don’t use social media and have no plans to do so in the future. Well, there are companies who do not use TV ads and that OK. Not using social media is a bit more complex matter. A very interesting quote from the survey:

We don’t interact directly with consumers, we go through business channels. We are very sensitive about any part of the company that interacts with the public.

Errr… what? How do you get money then? If your “business channel” decides not to pay are you just going to let it go. Please understand that ALL business is communication and all decision makers are human (if you are not a big proponent of conspiracy theories). Interacting with them will make your business easier. It might not be instantly obvious how to get it going but believe you me all business is coneversations.

Who is responsible for Social media strategy? No big surprise there marketing leads with 69% followed by communications with 43%.


Most organizations are only taking first steps in social media landscape. However it’s good to see that there are very few companies who still ignore it. My strong belief is that social media is here to stay and business will be changed radically by it. As the quote in the summary puts it:

When it comes to really groundbreakingways of reaching people, social media has so many more legs still to go. We are just at the beginning of this.

And here’s a direct link to the PDF file.

Priit Kallas

Priit is the founder and CEO of DreamGrow Digital, an internet marketing and social media company. With his 20+ years internet marketing experience he is Helping companies to understand and use the digital marketing to reach their target audiences. He has spoken at hundreds of seminars and conferences on different aspects of internet marketing. Priit is also the organizer of Digital Elite Camp, a leading traffic and conversion event.

3 Responses

  1. Nixon says:

    Good Stuff Pritt.

  2. Priit Kallas says:

    Thanks Sheldon! Can I have a peek at Sysomos software?

  3. 40deuce says:

    Very interesting stuff. Thanks for sharing this Priit!

    Sheldon, community manager for Sysomos

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