Despite the recession, most companies are continuing to invest in social media tools and online communities, according to a new survey by Deloitte, Beeline Labs and theSociety for New Communications Research.
The second annual survey of companies sponsoring online communities showed 94 percent of respondents plan to maintain or increase investment in their communities, while only 6 percent plan to decrease investment.
However, while businesses are using these tools to interact with customers, partners and employees, the survey also indicates that organizations continue to struggle with how to harness social media’s full potential.
Of the companies surveyed, a majority agreed that increasing word-of-mouth (38 percent), customer loyalty (34 percent) and brand awareness (30 percent) continue to be the top business objectives of online communities, followed by idea generation (29 percent) and improved customer support quality (23 percent).
The biggest obstacles to creating a successful community include getting people to join (24 percent), stay engaged (30 percent) and keep returning (21 percent).
The survey measured the responses of more than 400 companies, including Fortune 100 organizations, which have created and maintain online communities. The communities ranged from fewer than 100 members to more than 1 million members.