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Social Touches Prospects, Customers Throughout the Journey

Branding is still key objective

Social media’s value to companies can be difficult to measure, and the efforts required for successful outreach can seem daunting. But, execs seem to think it is helping them improve customer relations. Some even consider it “transformational.”

In a spring 2013 survey from Oracle, a strong majority of marketing and tech execs worldwide said they believed external social media usage had had a direct benefit on how their company interacts with customers, with nearly three-quarters saying that social usage had at least a moderate impact. More than three out of 10 even considered social to have had a significant or transformational effect.

The primary way social media has advanced the customer-company relationship has been to increase visibility with prospects, cited by more than 90% of respondents, pointing to social media’s role in online branding. And nearly as many said social fostered closer relationships with existing customers, along with greater awareness of customer needs. In fact, more than 80% of respondents believed social had had a positive effect by nearly all measures of customer relations asked about.

A survey by Grant Thornton of senior-level financial executives from primarily B2B industries, including those in technology, finance and recruitment, found that brand awareness, recruiting, customer profiling and customer care were all significant business objectives for social media, though brand awareness was the clear leader when having to choose just one answer.

The findings point to the way social reaches across the spectrum of business goals—promoting and defining the brand, helping bring in employees, bolstering Big Data efforts and providing tools and feedback to improve customer service.

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