Nearly a quarter of global companies have yet to embrace social media.

According to the latest Grayling Pulse survey of in-house communications professionals worldwide, 22 percent of communications and marketing heads report their companies have no social media strategy. Of those that do, only 39 percent said it is integrated with a broader communications strategy.

This story first appeared in the October 17, 2012 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Globally, only 23 percent of chief executive officers personally participate in corporate social media via a blog, Twitter or other platform, and 44 percent of ceo’s have no involvement in their company’s social media presence, according to Grayling’s research with 1,100 leading communications and marketing directors.


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“Like with any communications channel, companies should be deploying social media in a strategic way and not as an after-thought or an add-on,” said Christine Boehlke, ceo of Grayling North America Public Relations. “Our results demonstrate there are untapped opportunities for many companies to more effectively communicate with their audiences and stakeholders.”

The Pulse survey indicated that the two most common objectives for a company’s digital strategy are “improved reputation” (21.4 percent) and “awareness” (22.1 percent). “Increase in sales” was reported as a driver by 11 percent, and “customer service” by 10 percent.

As far as business sectors, technology, media and telecommunications led the way in social media with 83 percent having a digital strategy, compared with 68 percent in the consumer and retail sector, according to the quarterly survey.

Globally, 43.5 percent of companies said they were increasing their budgets in social media and digital; 35.7 percent said it would remain the same, and 7.7 percent said they were decreasing their budget.

The survey also found that companies located in Western Europe are most likely to have a digital strategy (78 percent), compared with 61 percent in Central Eastern Europe and Eurasia.

Victor Benady, global head of social media for Grayling, said, “The chasm between the ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’ has grown increasingly wider in 2012. It seems remarkable that 22 percent of the companies we surveyed have no social media strategy whatsoever whilst at the opposite end of the scale, 71 percent have a strategy and are getting under the skin of the reputational challenges of social media. What does that mean for the ‘have-nots’? Only time will tell if their lack of digital voice will negatively impact on their business but why are they even waiting to find out? It seems like a huge risk to take.”

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