As many as 91% of all organisations in the telecommunications sector are using social media platforms to engage in meaningful, two-way communication with customers and influencers, according to new research from KenCall.

The study found that the telecommunications industry was leading the way in its use of social media, with 73% of telcos engaging in one-to-one communications with customers via Twitter, and more than a quarter engaging with customers through blogs.

KenCall said it was able to reach its conclusions after devising a scoring methodology which allowed it to rank the social media effectiveness of 95 FTSE 500 organisations, from an examination of individual company Web sites. Organisations were scored on their use of Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, company blogs and other bespoke social networks, and then ranked accordingly.

Although use of social media amongst the telecommunications sector was high, the research highlighted wide-ranging distrust of social media tools from other industries as a whole, with only 41% of all organisations using a branded Twitter account to engage on a one-to-one basis with customers.

Meanwhile, as many as a quarter of all companies were found to use Twitter merely for outbound communication, and choose not to monitor replies. The big surprise is that just 28% of organisations had a company blog, with just over half of this number (55%) using their blog as a means of actively engaging with others.

“The research demonstrates that some industries are embracing social media tools much more than others,” said Nik Nesbitt, KenCall’s CEO. “For instance, although use of social media tools has been high amongst telecommunications companies, only 4% of organisations from the banking sector are using social media to engage with customers.

“More organisations need to follow the lead of telcos and understand that by failing to embrace the social media tools their customers and prospects are using, they are not only missing out on sales, but an opportunity to provide better, more fully integrated customer service. By ignoring these channels, they are ignoring their customers and so opening themselves up to reputation damage.”

“I can understand that some organisations see social media as time consuming and unnecessary, but this study illustrates the fact that many organisations are jumping onto the social media bandwagon, without fully understanding the benefits they can achieve by doing it properly. We believe that social media should be an invaluable customer service tool for businesses all over the world.”