By Maximilian Clarke

Half of managers from UK companies that have a social media presence are failing to recognise how significant of customer comments on social media sites are to the perception of their company or brand, a survey suggests.

The YouGov survey, commissioned by Interactive Intelligence, questioned management of some of the largest UK companies to determine how businesses use social media and how they rate its importance in interacting with customers and prospects. It was based on a sample of 501 respondents from a cross section of industry sectors, including construction and retail through to health services and education, conveyed their thoughts on social media.

The vast majority of large businesses, at least a significant 56%, already have a prominent social media presence on sites such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Furthermore, 70% of respondents have, or plan to have, a strategy in place to monitor and respond to comments posted on these social sites.

Despite having these building blocks in place, only 13% of businesses that use social media think it’s a high priority to interact with customers and prospects via social media.

In stark reality, a previous YouGov and Interactive Intelligence survey conducted on a sample of the UK population in April 2011, revealed that 41% of consumers who use social media are influenced by both positive and negative comments about a brand or company on social media sites.

“The companies surveyed recognise the importance of having a presence on social networking sites, yet the question remains - are they using it to its full advantage? asks Dave Paulding, regional sales director UK, Middle East & Africa, Interactive Intelligence. “Results from both of these surveys highlight a worrying gap between the customer and the company. Customers say they are influenced by comments made on social media channels, yet only 6% of the managers surveyed felt comments posted on social media sites were ‘very influential’ to the perception of their company or brand.”

Paulding continues: “Another result from the survey highlights that nearly two thirds of large companies are likely to increase or enhance their social media presence in the next 12 months. Whilst this is promising, it’s not enough to simply have a strategy in place. Companies need to recognise the impact of customer and prospect comments on these platforms, and ensure they are monitored and responded to in a timely fashion by the most appropriate person within an organisation.”

Join us on
Follow @freshbusiness