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My loose verdict on why smaller companies embrace social media more

by Scott Wallask

September 16, 2010

By Scott Wallask, Insider Learning Network

If you work at a small business with fewer than 50 employees, you’ve got a better chance of seeing your organization involved with customers on social media.

That’s an interesting conclusion from a recent customer support industry survey, the results of which appear in The Social Customer Engagement Index Survey. The publication was released by The Social Customer website and The Society of Consumer Affairs Professionals. SAP was one of the sponsors of the white paper.

“Small organizations appear faster to adopt social channels for customer engagement, and are more positive about that engagement than larger firms,” writes Brent Leary, partner and co-founder of CRM Essentials in Atlanta, who authored the survey analysis. Leary has a good track record on detailing social media trends.

Why do smaller companies log on more often? The survey doesn’t really get into th e reasons behind the findings. But I’ve got own gut feelings:

  • Smaller companies tend to spread the wealth when it comes to work duties (i.e., perhaps several departments have a hand in marketing), so it makes sense that many people would involve themselves with social media. And once you start on social media, you just might drink the Kool-Aid and use it more.
  • On the other hand, larger companies seem to deal with more silos regarding job roles, so people may not have the flexibility to explore other areas (such as social media) beyond their assignments.
  • Because smaller companies may have less red tape, they can react quicker to new trends than their bigger counterparts.
  • Many smaller companies have employees who have closer relationships simply because it’s easier to get to know everyone in the office. In some cases, that creates a fun atmosphere, and social media has a fun streak in it.

The survey is well worth reading to gain insight into other interesting results, but I’ll close things with another stat that caught my eye: Of the 118 customer support professionals polled for the survey, here’s what their companies have invested in social media:

  • Less than $50,000 – 72%
  • $50,000 to $100,000 – 17%
  • $100,000 to $250,000 – 5%
  • More than $250,000 – 6%

Where does your company fit in on that scale?

By the way, SAP CRM professionals will be able dig into social media trends and practical tips at SAPinsider's CRM 2011 conference, which takes place March 22-25 in Orlando.

Follow Scott on Twitter @sapcrm_observer.

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