Similar to Internet adoption in the 1990s, B2C companies, especially retailers, are driving social media adoption, while B2B companies lag behind, according to new research from International Data Corp, (IDC)
The study, 2012 U.S. Social Media Trends by Vertical, highlights the adoption of social media as an emerging technology across banking, government, healthcare, manufacturing, retail, and utilities. Part of IDC's annual vertical view survey, the study found that social media is enabling organizations to increase productivity and improve knowledge sharing as they leverage social networks to share best practices and identify appropriate resources.
Additional key findings from the study include the following:
- Increasing awareness of product and services is the top social media investment driver;
- Managing and tracking all posted content is the top challenge to social media;
- Social networking accounts for half of the social media budget; and
- Marketing is the biggest user of social media and is driving the purchasing decision of these technologies.
The study also found that when comparing social media investment to other emerging technology areas, retailers more than any other industry are making strong investments. Successful retailers are integrating their mobile, analytic, and social media strategies into one cohesive business approach. Social media touch points, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Groupon, are enabling these organizations to analyze customer behavior and in turn deliver personalized offers direct to a consumer's mobile device.
"Industries that are consumer focused, such as communications, media, and recreational services, are spending a larger percentage of their IT budget on social media as it is easy for them to make the shift to adopting the way consumers communicate," said Eileen Smith<, program manager of the Global Technology and Industry Research Organization at IDC. "However, there are early adopters in other vertical markets, such as insurance and professional services. Emerging uses in the construction industry, for instance, demonstrate how B2B organizations can leverage social media as a powerful collaboration tool to share project and material data, submit bids, and review designs."
Across all verticals, the research found that moderating conversations about products and services was not a high priority. IDC notes that companies are not taking full advantage of the communications aspect of social media and are using it more as a one-way method of communication for gathering feedback or pushing brand messaging to a wide audience rather than collaborative communication as the medium was intended.
IDC's Global Technology and Industry Research Organization conducts an annual vertical view survey to understand the buying needs across 24 industries. Respondents are surveyed regarding spending on IT products and services, business drivers and top IT initiatives, as well as investments in emerging technologies. The 2012 study was conducted from February to March.