A poll by Harris Interactive for Buddy Media showed that brands are hampered by finding the right ROI metrics in their adoption of social media campaigns to reach locally, on a global scale. Highlights from the poll results are as follow.
Social Media ROI Metrics
Priorities and constraints obviously differ between smaller and larger companies and yet almost half of all of them (namely 48%) said that establishing and tracking the right ROI metrics for social media was the main stumbling block for them to reach out to local customers on international markets. Looking closer, the number breaks down into 53% of the larger companies and 42% of the 'smaller' ones. Separately, when asked how important a problem establishing ROI metrics was for them, brand managers at the larger firms showed greater concern (47%) than those at smaller firms (30%), although, on average, the issue overall still was a "major problem" for 39% of them all.
The other "major" problem encountered by brand managers in establishing a local presence across the globe is cost management. Evidently, smaller companies are more sensitive to such budget issues (47%) than larger ones (33%), bringing the average concern to an overall 43% of respondents. The balancing act between the two categories of respondents is quite subtle though. When it comes to finding cost-effective tactics, 42% of larger companies are more concerned, versus only 33% of their smaller counterparts. However, both are on par (or almost) on the importance of determining an appropriate and cost-effective channel, with smaller companies giving it a 35% weight and larger firms 33%.
Customized Yet Unified Messages
The poll showed the limbo that brands have to deal with between reaching local foreign markets with customized messages and yet keeping a unified message across the globe. One third of them think that customizing messages for markets across the globe is a "major problem," and an overall 45% of them find it "very challenging" to reach out to such markets with a unified brand message. The majority of companies (51%) said it was crucial for managers of "local geographic markets to have the ability to manage customized content so it is consistent and organized."
Not Social Media Ready
Overall, 30% of the companies polled found it a "major problem" to leverage social media, and even more so at larger firms (39%) than at smaller ones (25%). The use of social media fan pages only comes 5th in the arsenal of tools used to reach local customers, after web sites with local content, print ads, promoted events and products. Paid social media ranked 9th, following banner/TV/radio ads. Only 10% of all polled brand managers deemed social media as effective to reach local markets. Even fewer (namely 7%) thought the same about paid social media.
The vast majority of them did not use Facebook (57%), with larger companies lagging further behind (67%) than smaller firms (53%). The main reasons they invoked for that choice is a) the lack of commitment on the part of their companies (27% on average but 38% at big firms and only 18% at smaller ones), b) the need for more metrics to justify the use of the social platform (27% on average) and c) the necessity for more education on the subject (23% on average, with smaller companies owing to need more at 29% and larger firms only 13%). Of those who have used social media in their marketing mix 76% have found their strategy "somewhat effective", versus a mere 9% finding theirs to have been "very effective." Knowledge management, audiences' engagement, influencers' identification and real-time metrics are also challenges that were raised by the brands for their non- or low adoption of social media.
Harris conducted the Buddy Media poll on line, talking to 105 brand managers during the week to June 14th, 2010. Of the total respondents, 57% were with companies turning over less than $100 million in annual sales and 43% worked with companies with annual revenues of over $100 million. Buddy Media said its clients are focused on the U.S. domestic market. Last June, the company launched its " +GLOBAL" service for brands to maintain a single, unified global Facebook presence across multiple countries and languages.