Customers come first for Australian Business 2.0

Using social media for employee engagement is well down the list of priorities for Australian business, according to a new study run by research company Nielsen which found that more than half (54 percent) of businesses use their social media investment for marketing, followed by customer relationship marketing, customer service/support and public relations (30 percent each). The least used activity was employee engagement at 12 percent.

The Nielsen-Community Engine 2011 Social Media Business Benchmarking Study found that business’ social media budgets were most commonly allocated to display advertising or maintaining a presence on Facebook (21 percent each). This was followed by social media monitoring (17 percent) and using a corporate blog (15 percent).

It found that businesses are embracing and formalising their social media activities with 17 percent of businesses having a formal social media strategy and 24% have social media guidelines in place.

The research was commissioned by Community Engine and conducted by Nielsen in April 2011 among a sample of 417 respondents, of which 83 were businesses in the private sector employing 100 or more staff.

Community Engine Director of Social Stephen Johnson said, “Attitudes are changing towards social media with more businesses embracing it and becoming more knowledgeable about online platforms. A shift from last year now shows only 35 percent of businesses lack knowledge and expertise to implement social media activities, down from 53 percent in 2009.”

“A significant proportion of businesses want control control of the online platforms with one in five saying they would much prefer to create their own social network than to utilise external social networks.”

With Australian businesses the most popular social media activities included:
· Presence in social media networks: 28 percent.
· Tracking/monitoring what is said about your brand/organisation/staff: 26 percent.
· Responding to/acting on comments: 25 percent.

Private companies have more confidence when it comes to a social media strategy and 51 percent of public sector feels their organisation lacks the knowledge and expertise to implement social media activities.

But the public sector have come out on top as more active in facilitating discussion and interaction with 56 percent giving the audience the opportunity to ask questions within a social networking platform.