When it comes to using social media, companies are more concerned with improving their reputation than they are with increasing sales, new research has found. More than 20 percent of businesses say they use social media to build their reputation and their brand, compared with just 11 percent of businesses that use it to increase sales.
Overall, just 22 percent of companies say they do not have a social media strategy in place within their organization, the research found. Among the majority of companies that use social media, 39 percent say it was a part of the broader communications strategy.
Despite the popularity of social media among companies, CEOs do not appear to share the same views of the medium. Just 23 percent of CEOs participate in the social media efforts of their company, whether through blogging or using Twitter and other platforms. On the other hand, 44 percent of CEOs say they have no involvement in social media strategies of the company.
Companies, however, appear to be embracing social media. The research found that nearly 40 percent of respondents in the United States say they will be increasing their social media and digital budgets. The increase in spending for social media is higher than increases in spending for reputation management, corporate communications and corporate social responsibility communications.
"Like with any communications channel, companies should be deploying social media in a strategic way and not as an afterthought or an add-on." said Christine Boehlke, CEO of Grayling North America Public Relations, which conducted the research. "Our results demonstrate there are untapped opportunities for many companies to more effectively communicate with their audiences and stakeholders."
Grayling's research was based on the responses of 1,119 communications and marketing directors. The company is a leading global communications network.