KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian brands are aware of the potential that social media offers in terms of developing prospects and enhancing awareness but they are failing to invest adequately in this channel, a new report has claimed.

Getting social: Social media in business, from consulting firm PwC, is based on a survey of 101 executives from major companies across a range of industries. It found, the Malay Mail Online reported, that 69% had some form of strategy as regards their social media activities, but many still lacked formal performance measurement initiatives.

Specifically, 28% had simply agreed on goals, a further 10% had communicated their goals to stakeholders, while another 31% were monitoring and adapting existing goals.

More than half (57%), however, were not tracking the impact of social media activity on their business and only 27% were using KPIs to measure the success of their social media efforts.

A similar picture emerged with respect to budgets – 59% of respondents did not have a budget for tracking social media, although 24% were in the process of developing one.

The report noted that brands continued to "believe in tried and tested forms of [traditional] advertising" and as a consequence social media was often relegated to a minor role and given a "shoestring" budget with little scope for including monitoring and measurement tools.

"Many Malaysian organisations don't have a robust strategy to guide their social media activities and quantify their benefits," said Sundara Raj, PwC's Malaysian Consulting practice lead.

"This is a lost opportunity, considering the dynamic nature of social media which enables businesses to respond to what their consumers and employees are talking about as they unfold," he added.

Greater buy-in by C-suite executives could help in this regard – a separate straw poll by PwC among social media users revealed that 77% thought the presence of a chief executive officer on social media directly affected how they felt about a brand.

But while 47% of C-suite executives used social media on a personal basis, just 29% had extended their usage to engage with external customers.

The report suggested that people at senior level management were not generally digital natives and so were not naturally inclined to explore social media for business purposes.

Data sourced from Malay Mail Online; additional content by Warc staff