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The use of social networking in business explained in one infographic

Which sectors use social networking? Why and how do they use it? What is its role in relation to the other communication channels? Why some companies do not use social networks? What would make them change their mind? Find the answer to all these questions in one infographic.

Cink Shaking Business and Banesto Foundation published a report on the use of social networks in Spanish Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs). The results are enlightening regarding the perception of companies on social networking and why so many of them are still reluctant about its use. I have collected the main results in one infographic. At the end of the infographic you’ll find my conclusions.

infographic use of social networks spanish companies

(It’s a big file, if you have any problem you also can see my infograhic on Visual.ly)

And now my conclusions:

Just over 50% of Spanish Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) use social networks, but this varies considerably depending on the sector.

The report brings out the link between direct contact with customers and social networking. The original use of social networks was the relationship between people, and this is still the main use for companies. Those companies that work for other companies or don’t have a close relationship with the final customer consider that social networking has nothing to offer them.

It is very interesting to see what objectives companies follow in using social networks. First, we find the offer of products and services and the information about events. These two uses have been inherited from the traditional communication tools, with which it was not possible a two-way communication with the customer and where the only goal was selling their products.

The introduction of social media in the communication strategy has enabled companies to have a closer relationship with customers, but also has forced them to adapt to the new rules of the game: the customer is no longer obliged to hear, they “follow” if they want, and they can communicate to the community their opinion about products. Companies must gain customers trust.

It is curious to see how all the uses have increased in time, with the exception of the traditional offering of products and services. This is evidence of the changing perception of companies regarding social networking.

More interesting is to find that companies use different social networks for different uses. For example, Twitter is mainly used to inform and communicate with customers. Regarding Pinterest, it is noteworthy that, in addition to the typical uses of showcasing products and facilities, it is also been used for e-commerce

Despite all this, Facebook is everywhere. This can be explained by two reasons: first, Facebook is the most popular social network and companies use it for all without asking if it is the right tool. Secondly, Facebook incorporates elements of all other social networks. Given that social networking management requires a significant investment in time, companies prefer to use the tool that offers more features.

However, we must not forget that, for many companies, social networks are not a serious thing and under no circumstance replace traditional communication tools. Social networks have still long way to go, as there is much ignorance and prejudice about their use.

Regarding SMEs not using social networking, 44% of them plan to use it in the future and, as could not be otherwise, Facebook would be the chosen one. What is striking is the poor results of LinkedIn, considering that it is a professional network.

And which are the main obstacles to the use of social networks? First, and not surprisingly, most companies do not use social media because they consider that they have nothing to offer them.

What is perhaps most telling about this is the question about what would make change their minds about their entry into social networking. According to companies, what they need to know are successful real cases of companies from their sector.

This shows us that if we want to encourage companies, we should change our message. Forget the prestige and reputation. Companies will use social networking when they know how to sell more with it.

This report leads us to consider if all companies need to use social networks. I remember the same question was raised years ago regarding websites. Now no one has any doubt.

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