Organizations are not tapping social media’s full potential, according to a Deloitte study I just came across. It was released at the end of 2009 so I don’t expect that much has changed since then.
Entitled “2009 Tribalization of Business Study,” the survey measured the responses of over 400 companies, including Fortune 100 organizations, that have created and maintain online communities today. The communities ranged from fewer than 100 members to more than one million members.
Marketing continues to be the primary driver of online communities, according to the study, with the following business objectives. See if you can guess what’s missing.
- Increase word-of-mouth (38 percent)
- Increase customer loyalty (34 percent)
- Increase brand awareness (30 percent)
- Improve idea generation (29 percent)
- Improve the quality of customer support (23 percent)
EMPLOYEES. That’s what missing in this study, conducted in conjunction with Beeline Labs and the Society for New Communications Research. The study reports that while companies are using communities to engage with customers, partners and employees, only 20% of respondents have set up formal “ambassador” programs, and these give outsiders preferential treatment in return for being more active in the community.” Any rewards for employees being active social media ambassadors? I discussed this last month in my blog “Make More Money Through Employee Engagement.”
Companies are missing a big bet if they don’t engage their own employees as brand advocates for the company. They are the ones “touching” customers every day and should be rewarded accordingly. Give employees a chance to become more active in social networks, and they will boost the metrics most important to their companies – the ones that ring the cash register.