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Social media has vast, untapped potential for most companies finds survey.

Despite its vast potential, many companies have yet to capitalise on social media's ability to not only listen to customers, but analyse conversations and turn the information into bottom-line benefit.

GENERAL MERCHANDISE

Social media has vast, untapped potential for most companies finds survey.

Despite its vast potential, many companies have yet to capitalise on social media's ability to not only listen to customers, but analyse conversations and turn the information into bottom-line benefit.

Many organisations cling to old paradigms, using social media for one-way flow of marketing messages, instead of capitalizing on the opportunity to monitor, analyse, and participate in millions of conversations among consumers a survey of 2100 companies by SAS has revealed.

Overall, companies continue to search for ways to gauge and demonstrate social media's contribution to the bottom line.

More than half the companies that responded are using social media. But only one quarter know where their most valuable customers are "talking" about them. Even fewer are applying social media analytic tools. Almost none have attempted customer sentiment analysis. Just 7 percent are trying to integrate social media into overall marketing strategy, such as campaign management, retail analytics, CRM and business intelligence.

"Companies are missing the chance to effectively market products and manage their reputations," said leading author and analytics expert Tom Davenport. ""They don't know who's talking about their brands, products or services, let alone the positive and negative sentiments. They can't judge the influence of someone praising or criticising them, nor can they test brand messages, videos, etc. In short, they're missing marketing opportunities."

Many organisations seem more focused on “making noise” than understanding and participating in ongoing conversations about them. Half the companies using social media see increasing awareness of the organisation and its products and services as the major benefit. Yet only a quarter thinks it’s working – a perception possibly constrained by the low use of analytic tools.  Another 30 percent look to increase traffic to their websites, but, only 29 percent report collecting and tracking customer reviews online. It is striking that more accountable benefits are far lower down the list.

While 23 percent agreed social media helped them monitor what was being said, few described measuring the frequency of discussion about the organization as a current benefit. Only 18 percent could identify positive and negative comments.

Looking to the future, 36 percent of companies surveyed plan to conduct customer sentiment analysis in the next two to three years. Some 33 percent are planning social monitoring solutions, 27 percent want predictive analytics and 26 percent will measure the impact of online conversations. Many hope to integrate social media monitoring with other marketing solutions, to understand not just what is being said, but who is saying it and its impact.

Other findings revealed

•75 percent of companies surveyed did not know where their most valuable customers were talking about them.
•31 percent do not measure effectiveness of social media.
•Only 23 percent use social media analytic tools.
•A mere 7 percent are integrating social media into marketing activities

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How can you integrate social media into your Multichannel Strategy ?

Hear the answers to this and other questions from Brian Curran, Head of Group Direct Marketing & Publishing , Mothercare, Chris Corbin, Head of Multichannel, Halfords, Fergus Boyd, Acting Head of eBusiness , Virgin Atlantic Airways, Simon Harrow, Technology Officer, Kiddicare and more at The Retail Bulletin's Multichannel Summit 2011.
You'll find the answers to these and other burning issues...

•What opportunities do social media offer to multichannel retailers?
•Which threats do social media present to the multichannel retailer?
•How should retailers best approach exploiting opportunities from social media?
•How big a part should social media play within your multichannel strategy?
•How can retailers protect their brands from social media threats?
•How is the increased use of smartphones affecting the retailers from a social media perspective
•Which multichannel retailers stand out from the crowd in using social media and what are they doing?
•Which social media technologies offer the retailer the best ROI?
•What social media pitfalls should retailers try to avoid within their multichannel strategies?
•How will social media impact retail strategy in 2013?

Whether you are a retailer with one shop or website looking to add new channels or an established multichannel player looking to for new ways to maximise revenues and engage your customers, then this is the conference for you. 

For more information on the summit click here.

If you are a vendor that can provide solutions for multichannel retailers and would like to know more about sponsorship, speaking, workshop and exhibiting opportunities then contact markh@theretailbulletin.com

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