Eight out of ten American companies are present on Facebook, and 45 percent on Twitter, according to a new survey organized by InSites Consulting, which found social media usage in the United States to be higher than in Europe.

Six out of ten American companies listen to consumer conversations on social media and eight out of ten American companies answer client questions and complaints via social media.

“Social media makes conversations between consumers very transparent,” says Steven Van Belleghem, partner at the research agency InSites Consulting. “Companies can quite easily discover what people are saying about their products and services. An increasingly growing group is strongly interested (and with good reason) in this real-time feedback from the market.”

US companies are very successful in answering questions via social media: 83 percent of companies indicate they always deal with questions or complaints sent to them via social media. Still, only 54 percent of the companies in this survey also talk to and actively participate in online conversations with consumers.

But a mere 11 percent of the companies are integrating their social media approach into their overall corporate strategy while17 percent are currently mid-integration.

According to Van Belleghem: “A huge number of companies feel external pressure to be present on social media. Unfortunately this very often results in static corporate pages where nothing really happens. It too often leads to mere presence, not engagement with people. In doing so, companies create enthusiasm among their customers which in the end turns into disappointment.”

The survey suggests that there will soon be a digital gap in the corporate world. This survey shows that companies that are already investing a lot in new media will do so even more in the future. Companies that are not investing much yet are not intending to do so.