socialbusinessSocial business is up and coming and for sure, here to stay, according to a new global executive study from MIT Sloan Management Review and Deloitte. The report, Social Business: Shifting Out of First Gear, shows that 70% of more than 2,500 respondents across 25 major industries believe that social business will fundamentally change the way companies work.
In just one year, the number of respondents that said social was important to business today has doubled from 18% to 36%, and the number that say social will be even more important one year from now has risen from 40% to 54%. In an interview for the report, Gerald Kane, professor at the Boston College Carroll School of Management, said “With social, we are passing the peak of faddishness. Companies are starting to crack social’s code and are turning to it for business advantage, intelligence and insight.”
While all major industries are now adopting social media in varying aspects of their business, the ones that are leading the way in its business use include media (entertainment, media and publishing), IT and tech, and telecommunications, communications companies. Of note is the energy and utilities sector where the number of managers who feel social is important to business urged from 7% to 29% over the past year. Of the many factors that drove this marked increase, engaging with customers was the most important. Pike research estimates that 57 million customers used social media in 2011 to engage with utilities companies, and that number is projected to jump ten-fold by the end of 2017 to 624 million.
The Continued Rise of Social Customer Service
While social business is still primarily a marketing-owned function, 70% of respondents said social business is important or somewhat important in managing customer relations for their organizations and more than three-fourths said it was important or somewhat important in managing brand and reputation risk. The greatest increases in the use of social business over the past year, according to the survey, are managing brand reputation, driving brand loyalty or trust and providing customer service and support.
The C-Suite is even coming around when it comes to incorporating social media into more aspects of business. When listing their top three uses for social business, the replies were varied by role, but not by much:
- CEO: (1) Driving brand affinity (2) Increasing sales (3) Crowdsourcing ideas and knowledge
- CFO: (1) Increasing sales (2) Recruiting and managing talent (3) Providing customer service
- CIO: (1) Managing projects (2) Driving brand affinity (3) Providing customer service
- CMO: (1) Driving brand affinity (2) Increasing sales (3) Crowdsourcing ideas and knowledge.
What Holding Social Business Adoption Back?
The varied answers by role above provide a look into what’s currently holding social business back from even greater use and success. The study notes (1) a lack of an overall strategy for social (2) too many competing priorities, and (3) a lack of a proven business case or strong value proposition as the top three deterrents to increased social business adoption and success.
The Start of Something Big
Despite disagreement when it comes to prioritizing the use of social, respondents all agree its use is the start of something big. Between last year and this year, respondents from all 25 industries across 99 countries increased the value they place on social business. None remained at the same level and none reversed course.
When asked about their company’s social maturity on a scale of 1 to 10, more than half believed they were currently at a 3 or below. It’s all in getting started though, as social business is here to stay.
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