BERLIN: German companies are taking an increasingly strategic approach to their social media activities, a study has revealed.

Social Media in Business, a new report from the Bundesverband Digitale Wirtschaft (BVDW), found that just over three quarters of firms (78%) have developed corporate strategies for the social channel.

A majority of this group, some 43% of total respondents, said they had taken a rounded, business-wide approach, while 35% prefer to rely on individual departments having their own policies.

Of the remaining companies without a current social media plan, 69% say they expect to introduce a strategy over the long term.

BVDW's Ingo Nothoff added that the way social media activity is managed by within businesses is likely to change in future.

"Social media will no longer be the sole responsibility of public relations or marketing," he said. "Rather, all departments, including human resources, distribution and customer service, will be included in the process."

Nothoff also pointed out that "clear objectives are a prerequisite for the evaluation of a social media strategy to bring added value to all departments".

But having a strategy is only part of the social media solution. Six out of ten companies responding to the BVDW survey cite a lack of resources – whether time, money or personnel – as obstacles to success.

Meanwhile, data protection concerns occupy 49% of firms, and internal problems hamper a further third in the planning or implementation of their social media activities.

Achieving co-operation between departments is proving difficult for 37%, while resistance from supervisors affects 34% of companies planning social media activities or implementation.

Data sourced from BVDW; additional content by Warc staff