Is anybody out there? Tech companies #fail at social media, says study

Nearly every company has a social media presence these days, right? And, naturally, tech companies execute best. Although perhaps not.

A slightly self-serving study by PR and marketing agency Wildfire, which analysed the social media activity of the 2009 Deloitte Fast Tech 50, found that 90% of the UK tech companies featured had a presence on two or more social networks but the majority fail to actually use social media in a social way. Instead, far too many brands are treating the likes of Twitter and Facebook as a traditional marketing channel.

Staggeringly (or maybe not), while 74% of companies operated an official Twitter account, 43% of brands had never replied to a single tweet. Overall, the study found that 57% used Twitter solely for one-way marketing activity.

The use of Facebook didn’t fair any better either. Wildfire found that 20% of those on the Deloitte Fast Tech 50 list had a presence on the social networking site, a paltry 25% of brands reply to followers’ comments on their Facebook accounts, while 60% of companies with a Facebook page used it purely as a distribution channel.

Oh dear.

I could go on but the bottom line is that for all of the social media marketing hype, the reality is a little out of kilter. Music no doubt to the ears of opportunistic social media marketeers everywhere who I’m sure are keen to help.

For what it’s worth, my experience of poor social media execution by companies on Twitter goes something like this: I tweet a customer complaint. A few hours later I get an @ reply from the brand’s official account offering to help or to put me in touch with somebody who can. I reply, giving more details of the problem, and thank them for offering to intervene. And then silence.

Companies, tech or otherwise, would do well to remember that in the age of social media, customer service is PR.

Or something like that.

(On a serious note, Wildfire do dish out some good, if not rather obvious, advice in the full report, which, yes, I did actually read.)