U.S. businesses are in denial about social media, considering it a fad, or just another version of the Internet, a human resources professional group said.
Seventy-two percent of businesses don't have a clear strategy or goals for incorporating social media into their operations, the study by the Society of Human Resource Management, based in Alexandria, Va., said.
One of the main reasons why businesses haven't pursued a social media strategy is lack of data tied to return on investment, said Rob Ployhart of the Darla Moore School of Business at the University of South Carolina.
In a report released in October by the SHRM, Ployhart offered guidance for business executives struggling with the issue.
"There is a lot of hype that goes along with technology," Ployhart said. "After doing this review, I'm convinced that social media is radically different and that existing theories about communications can't be applied the same way.
"It puts incredible power in the hands of employees and customers. One person sharing on social media is more powerful than 50 or more people saying it."
Companies should look at social media from a strategic perspective across the entire business organization, he said.
"Usually people think about social media from the employee issue part of it -- for disciplinary, firing and hiring -- by establishing social media policies for what employees can and can't do. They're not looking at it from 'how can I use this to drive results for my business?'" Ployhart said.
"In today's world, we are all interconnected. Companies that are thinking about this proactively are the ones that are probably going to have an advantage in leveraging this technology."
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