• 91% of the companies say that using social networks provide a competitive advantage
• 53% of respondent say they generate sales opportunities through social media
In 2015, 74% of respondents said they use social networks to promote the company and plan to continue using them. 21% said that social networks are part of their corporate communication strategy, a 2% growth compared to 2014, according to the EY Romania study, “Social media and the Romanian business environment 2015”, released today.
The study, now in the third annual edition, analyzes the responses of 270 representatives of companies from various industries in Romania on how they deal with marketing through social networks and the impact that this type of marketing currently has in their work.
The "star" platform in Romania in 2015 remains Facebook with 92% of responses (93% globally), followed by LinkedIn with 75% (71% globally) and YouTube with 37% (55% globally). In Romania, significant increases in the use show: LinkedIn (+14% vs 2014), YouTube (+ 8% vs 2014), and Twitter (+8% vs 2014).
"Our study, now at its third edition, aims at identifying the social media trends that are relevant to the Romanian business environment. We want to make available to the marketing directors, but also the top executives, a relevant set of information to facilitate their understanding of how companies in different industries from Romania evolve in the use of social networks, for the corporate communication, for building relationships with customers, and for generating sales", says Elena Badea, Director of Marketing, EY Romania.How organizations use social media networks in Romania?
The largest percentage of respondents (23%) use social media for promotion, since 2-3 years. 20% of the respondent companies claim having started using social networks recently, in the last 2 years. More than half of companies (58%) spend up to 5 hours weekly communicating on social networks, while 20% allocate between 6 and 10 hours a week – a percentage similar to the one recorded in 2014.
The frequency of social networks use has decreased significantly. In 2015, only 36% of respondents said they use social media daily, 5% less than in 2014 and 13% less than in 2013. The percentage is up about those who use social media every 2-3 days, 15% in 2013 and 23% in 2014 to 28% in 2015. The weekly frequency of use of communication through social media went up from 22% to 23%. The resistance area of those who use social media every few months fell from 9% in 2014 to only 3% in 2015.
Although declining (from 51% in 2014 to 46% in 2015), the marketing department keeps its top place among the departments dealing with social networks. However, a significant 28% say they do not have a department of the company in charge of communication through social networks. In contrast, there are companies where this activity is handled by a department dedicated only to the communication through social networks (12%).
More and more respondents (up from 64% in 2014 to 75% in 2015) say they manage their own campaigns on social networks and fewer say they outsource this activity (down from 14% in 2014 to 6% in 2015). However, 46% of companies say that they outsource the design and development activity, 23% outsource the content creation, and by 16% outsource the market research and public relations (PR ). The strategy is outsourced only by 10% of companies, while updating statuses is kept in house by 90% of companies.
In 2015, the share of respondents "undecided" about measuring company’s ROI in social media decreases (from 52% in 2014 to 41% in 2015) in favor of those who "totally agree" (18% in 2015) and “agree” (31% in 2015). Only 10% said the company cannot measure the return on investment for the activities on social networks in 2015, compared to 14% in 2014.What for do companies use social media in Romania?
In 2015, 91% of companies say using social media provides them a competitive advantage compared with the companies which do not use social networks. The top areas of use remain marketing, selling and recruiting. Significant increases are reported for networking (48% of companies, +13% vs 2014) and competitive analysis (21% of respondents, +6% vs 2014).
Increasing awareness and exposure to the market remain the most important benefits of using social networks; 53% of respondents talk about generating sales opportunities and 37% of respondents say that social media use produced an actual increase in revenue (+3% compared to 2014). Even if there is a decrease compared to last year, almost half of the respondents use social media to increase customer loyalty.
64% of respondents believe that generating sales opportunities within social networks is effective, while 30% are undecided on this. 59% of respondents stated that they do prospecting and identifying sales opportunities through social networks, 4 % say they can pre-qualify by collecting information in social media and 35% can support the bidding process through online chats and demonstrations of products or services offered. In contrast, 18% of companies say they do not use social networks in the process of selling, a higher percentage than in 2014.
Using social networks for recruitment is remains stubbornly high, the top being led by the banking and financial industry, with 56% of respondents. Financial and banking institutions signal that they use social networks for employer branding (56%). On the other hand, 75% of companied in tourism and 70% of companies in retail & wholesale use social media to increase customer loyalty.
„Social media changes the consumer’s relationship with the product and supplier. Nowadays the consumer claims the role of a partner in generating products/services models due to the experience they had if he/she cares about brand. Most easily accessible environment for consumer input, social media becomes an incubator of ideas for product development function of the companies. Beyond idea co-generation social media can also convert marketing activities into sales. The conversion rates of marketing and the relevance of sale vary by industry, but always strengthens the company’s soft power”, says Constantin Măgdălina, Knowledge Management Senior, EY Romania. Content, followers and budgets
In top 3 types of content offered to the followers on social media are the following: information about the company’s product and services (77%), information about the company (66%), and information on campaigns, promotions, direct and indirect sales (52%). Social media is also increasingly used for recruitment (37% in 2015 compared to 35% of respondents in 2014).
Although 17% of companies say they do not ask followers on social networks regarding their requirements for the products and services offered (+3% compared to the previous year), 33% say they involve their followers and act upon their feedback. The majority of the respondents intend to consider the opinion of customers on social networks in the future, thus confirming the trend whereby companies wish to normalize their relationship with social consumers who form their buying decisions in the online environment.
25% of respondents (+7% compared to 2014) use listening tools for social networks and react to the consumers’ opinions. 40% of respondents say they have not yet used listening tools, but they plan to use in the next period. In this regard the investments will come in particular from IT&C industry (55% of respondents), retail (50%), advertising/media (43%) and pharmaceutical industry (42%).
52% of respondents invested less than EUR 1000 in promotion through social networks in the past year, 10% invested between EUR 1000 and EUR 3000, while 23% invested more than EUR 3000. A significant percentage (15%) of respondents say they do not know whether their companies invested in promoting their company through social media in the past year which suggests that the promotion through social networking is not always a strategy across the organization, and budgets are distributed across multiple departments.
“Modern marketing strategies have a strong brand-consumer relationship in digital. The impact of social networks crossed the limit of identification new selling opportunities long time ago. Social consumers have become the source of new ideas for product or service development, perfectly adapted to their needs. Using listening tools for social consumers in creating processes, promoting and delivering secures major competitive advantages that will quickly sideline introverted company anchored in tradition”, says Daniel Ionescu, Marketing Strategist.
****About the study
The study Social media and the Romanian business environment, conducted by EY Romania is based on a questionnaire applied between 3 –20 November 2015. The report analyzes the responses of the 270 respondents from the local business environment. The report used for global comparative data is the “2015 Social Media Marketing Industry Report –How Marketers Are Using Social Media to Grow Their Businesses”. Edition 2015 of the study analyzes the responses of representatives of companies from various industries in Romania on how they approach marketing through social networks and the impact this type of marketing currently has upon their work.About EY Romania
EY is one of the world's leading professional services firms with approximately cu 212.000 employees in 700 offices across 150 countries, and revenues of approximately $28,7 billion in the fiscal year that ended on June 30, 2014. Our network is the most integrated at global level and its vast resources allow us to help our clients benefit from every opportunity. In Romania, EY has been a leader on the professional services market since its set up in 1992. Our over 650 employees in Romania and Moldova provide seamless assurance, tax, transactions, and advisory services to clients ranging from multinationals to local companies. Our offices are based in Bucharest, Cluj-Napoca, Timisoara, Iasi and Chisinau. EY Romania is the most attractive employer in consultancy in the country, and the most sought after employer out of the Big4, according to studies conducted by Catalyst and Trendence 2015. For more information, please visit www.ey.com