Corporations are failing to train their staff in how to use social media properly, according to research presented today at LeWeb.

Jeremiah Owyang, partner at Altimeter Group, presented the company’s ‘State of Social Business’ report which found that despite the lack of training, the average number of social media accounts held by large corporations is 178.

Owyang said that the average number of people in a social media team is 11, and 1 in every 330 staff is now using social media for business purposes.

The research is based on 63 interviews with corporate practitioners and technology providers, 144 survey respondents at companies with more than 1,000 employees and analysis of 50 social media crises.

Owyang said that social media programs tend to be nascent and lacking long-term direction, with 62% of respondents stating they had been using social media for less than two years.

Less than 20% of respondents strongly agreed that their staff knew how to represent the company on social media, and a majority had no formalised way of recording social media interactions.

Companies need to implement a proper training scheme for staff and work towards a ‘holistic’ approach where communications were consistent across different platforms.” 

He also warned the audience about using social media too heavily, saying that by responding to customers online, corporations are training people to shout loudly at their friends to get a reaction.

Furthermore, by providing too many links to social networks, companies are encouraging users to leave their site when they should be doing the opposite. He highlighted an example from The Washington Post that had 11 links to its Facebook presence on just one page.