Social media presence the new ad currency? Think again.

It’s been exhausted that Malaysia harbours a very social culture. In PwC Malaysia’s inaugural report on social media in the country, it pointed out that while Malaysian companies are active on social media, they don’t actually realise the impact that presence has on its business.

According to the survey, Getting social: Social media in business, 69% of companies don’t have a clear strategy or performance measurement tool in place to track ROI from social media. More than half of respondents don’t bother to track the influence their social media activities have on their business.

The survey further revealed that consumers think having C-suite participation on social media helps their leadership respond to better in times of crisis. However, of the 47% of C-suite who are social media users on a personal basis, only a small percentage (29%) use the platform to engage with their customers.

Sundara Raj, leader of the Malaysian Consulting practice, a sub-division of PwC’s Southeast Asian Consulting services, said: “Malaysians are one of the most connected social audiences. For Facebook alone, we have the fifth highest number of users in Asia.”

(For the full report, click here)

“Many Malaysian organisations don’t have a robust strategy to guide their social media activities and quantify their benefits. This is a lost opportunity, considering the dynamic nature of social media which enables businesses to respond to what their consumers and employees are talking about as they unfold.”

However, the lack of engagement from the C-suite can be attributed to the fact that many senior personnel are not digitally savvy, therefore are not too inclined to explore the social media side of their business.

In current times, nearly 30% of ad spend are invested into digital campaigns, but as the survey noted: more than half of the companies utilising social media platforms do not track their influences with consumer – neither through sales, sales lead or email subscriptions.

Raj said that a digital reputation needs to be built to support company reputation and actions offline in the physical world.

“Both go hand in hand in today’s connected world.”

Brands are certainly looking at social media in a different light, but whether that light is consistent with their core vision is still a question to be addressed.

To increase C-suite presence on social media would mean the expenditure of their time. For a CEO or CMO, time is their greatest currency. And social media reputation requires time to build.

What has been seen are brands putting human with social skills into these engagement roles to strengthen or replicate the vision of the brand into its social media profiles; however, as human goes, all are susceptible to err.

In the digital space, especially with social media platforms, brands can easily be broken or given a face lift – often within an hour, reaching viral status for the world to criticise or applaud.

So marketers, before you embark on deepening your social media presence, check out what your predecessors have done on these platforms that either made or broke their image.

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That being said, the survey also points out that risk management efforts are critical on platforms where a single tweet can sometimes lead to disastrous repercussions.

Marketers, don't get caught being one of the 46% of companies with guidelines on using social media for their employees if 2014 holds for you a game plan to break into the digital world.