IT Neglecting Social Media

Most tech companies have Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social network accounts, but aren't using the opportunities for interaction.
Despite their apparent understanding of the behind-the-scenes technology driving social media, IT companies are not taking a leadership role in using social networking sites to interact with consumers, partners, and prospects, a new study found.

Nine out of 10 of the technology companies in Wildfire PR's report had a presence on at least two social networks: 74% of the businesses polled had a Twitter site, 72% had a LinkedIn presence, and 20% had a Facebook page, according to the study. Of those surveyed, 48% had a company blog.

Yet 57% of tweeting tech companies used it only for one-way marketing, and did not take advantage of Twitter's ability to directly engage with followers, the study found. In fact, only 3% of tweets were retweets and 12% were replies, according to the report by the British public relations firm. Forty-three percent of tech companies with a Twitter account never responded to a tweet, Wildfire PR said.

Company blogs reported similar results, with only one-fourth receiving reader comments, the study found. Two-thirds of Facebook pages in the study received user comments, but 75% of technology companies with a Facebook page did not respond to this feedback, the report found.

"Technology brands are dipping a toe in the water, but are missing opportunities to realize the full potential of social networks to engage, build community, and amplify brand awareness," the report said.

Technology businesses -- whether business-to-business or business-to-consumer -- fared poorly in terms of placement, too, according to Wildfire PR. Only 46% featured a link to their blog on their homepage, and 25% included a link to their Twitter handle on their homepage, the report said. While only 11 businesses in the survey had a YouTube account, not one of them included a link to their online video account on their company home page, the study found.

"Given the increasing and significant proportion of total marketing budgets spent online, surely companies should be ensuring that their social media activity maximizes the value of each and every online visit," said Wildfire.

The study examined the top 50 businesses in the 2009 Deloitte Fast Tech in April 2010. Companies include small, midsize, and enterprise businesses in B2B and B2C industries.