Multichannel Merchant Survey Shows Merchants Not So Social

Are multichannel marketers making the most of social media? They’re making progress, but they don’t see it as an overly-important marketing tactic, based on respondents to Multichannel Merchant’s Outlook 2010 survey on E-Commerce.

On a scale of 1 to 10 in importance, with 10 being most important, the mean rating for social media was 5.76. Though 12.2% rated it a 10, 9.4% gave it a 1.

But nearly 70% of the total survey respondents are on Facebook, while 57% are on Twitter. A third (33.2%) are on LinkedIn, 30.4% are on YouTube, and 28.5% have a company blog.

A look at the business-to-consumer respondents shows 74.8% are on Facebook, compared to 63% of business-to-business respondents. The b-to-c merchants are also twittering more than the b-to-b merchants as 61.5% of con¬sumers merchants said they tweet vs. 50% of business responders.

The survey respondents were not big on blogging, as only about 29% have a company blog. Who spearheads the blogs? A fifth of those with a blog (20.5%) said a designated employee handles the duties, while 17.4% said the president or CEO does the blogging. Just 4.6% said the blog was ghostwritten for the president/CEO.

Most respondents (58.7%) with a corporate blog said they started it because they wanted to interact with customers. More than half (53.9%) thought it would be a good prospecting tool, and 38.3% wanted to monitor what consumers were saying about their brand.

But only 11.7% of the respondents say they are extremely satisfied with their social networking, while 62.2% are somewhat satisfied. Why? Some respondents said they have a lack of resources which keeps them from keeping up with social networking, while others felt that for their specific industry, it was a big waste of time.

Some respondents are using social media to communicate with customers and prospects. Blog commenting is allowed by 34.6% of the merchants, and 31.8% have integrated the ability to share content on Facebook or Twitter.

The online survey, distributed between Dec. 17, 2009 and Feb. 21, 2010, was completed by 886 Multichannel print and online subscribers. Of those, 594 (77.5%) indicated that their company marketed products directly to consumers and/or businesses through a print catalog and/or e-commerce Website, and those active respondents form the basis of the result to the survey.

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