Publitek recently released its second annual report on “Who’s winning the social media battle in the Semiconductor industry,” with an expanded list of selected companies. The good news is more companies are getting into the social media game with vigor.
Even better news is the amount of primary engagement (likes and follows) obliterates the belief that engineers don’t use social media with more than 30 million Facebook likes of posts in one month for the top five companies alone. You could discount as much as half of that as bogus traffic from clip farms and even a significant number of corporate hacks boosting their numbers, but that means millions still are attributed to customers.
The bad news of that last point is companies are still, by and large, ignoring that potential channel of conversation with the customer. One company was able to gather more than 1000 likes on Facebook and doesn’t even have a Facebook page.
The even worse news is that the industry is still measuring the wrong data.
The report measured six channels this year: Blogs, Facebook, Google+, Linkedin, Twitter and Youtube. So far, so good. Next, it expanded its list from the top 25 semiconductor companies to 39 semiconductor companies and one EDA company. Not exactly sure what the selection criteria were, but it was good for the one EDA participant, Cadence Design, who ended up third overall. The report looked at only a single month, August 2014, to gather its data, which is also a little suspect. Most companies in the sector effective shut down over the summer which could depress the numbers significantly.
Publitek based it’s ranking on the numerical size of their audience (likes, followers, etc.) multiplied by the engagement the company had with comments (it was a bit more detailed than that but that’s essentially the criteria) and I’m not sure how valuable those metrics are. Recent studies show that people who like and share content are unlikely to have actually consumed the content and the numbers can be easily fudged, as I mentioned earlier.
Footwasher Media did its own study earlier this year. Data was gathered over 8 months (November 2013 to July 2014, ignoring activity during December 2013) from a selection of 95 Semiconductor, EDA and Embedded software companies. Half the companies were selected from the top public companies according to industry reports and half from nonpublic companies who were within the top five of Google searches using the terms Private semiconductor, EDA, and Embedded software. Rather than look at whether a company respond to comments, we measured the average number of comments from customers, subtracting comments from company employees. And rather than measure the sheer volume of connections over all channels, we looked for companies with a documented strategy for using communication channels as the multiplier.
The results for our survey were so disappointing we never published them. What we discovered was that only two companies had strategies beyond a list of tactical channels: Intel and Qualcomm, and less than half of the companies had significant engagement from their customer base. Almost all comments and interaction came from employees or business partners of the companies. Moreover, all embedded and EDA companies landed in the bottom quartile.
The two surveys demonstrate the rather large gulf that exists between the semiconductor industry and the new-media-savvy world. To be fair, more than 95 percent of US industry has yet to truly embrace “best practices” of social media and are still measuring success with outdated SEO standards involving sheer volume of statistics. Likes, followers, the number of posts and even shares are less likely to produce an ROI. More valuable is the time spent, on average, consuming the content; time spent on the site; and conversion to sales or qualified leads
But there is good news over all. What both surveys demonstrate is that no company in the semiconductor sector is doing modern marketing right. They still don’t understand content, engagement or their audience. That means if one company finally decides to go strategic, it will dominate not only their niche, but will be come the de facto thought leader. Won’t take much but a little willpower.