Saturday, December 05, 2009

Social Media Now Regularly Used by 65% of People at Work

Nearly 65 percent of respondents reported using social media as part of their normal work routine, including reading blogs, visiting business profiles on sites like Facebook or LinkedIn or using Twitter to find information and/or communicate about business-related matters.

Among respondents using social media for business purposes in their day-to-day jobs, 62 percent visit company or brand profiles on social networking sites and 55 percent search for business information on these sites.

Among those using any form of social media to find business-relevant information, the most popular activity is attending webinars or listening to podcasts (69 percent) followed by reading ratings or reviews for business products or services (62 percent).

The least popular activities are saving business-related links on social bookmarking sites (28 percent) and participating in discussions on third-party web sites (29 percent).

Experienced social media pros are likely to be astounded that over half of respondents indicated that they participate in online business communities or forums. This is far higher than the typical two-percent participation rate among monthly visitors to online communities. This difference may be due to how study respondents understood the word “participate”, possibly interpreting it as “visit," rather than "post."

Facebook is the dominant social network on which consumer-focused companies maintain one or more profiles, cited by 83 percent of respondents versus 45 percent for Twitter. B2B companies, however, maintain a presence on both platforms with 77 percent maintaining a profile on Facebook and 73 percent on Twitter.

Consultants and marketing communications professionals are the most active users of social media as a resource for business information, particularly in smaller firms. IT professionals have the lowest participation rate.

The average company in this study was planning, developing or running seven different social media initiatives; 65 percent of respondents staffing those initiatives, and 71 percent of companies themselves, have less than two years of experience with social media for business.

Building brand awareness and brand reputation are two of the top social media success metrics.

B2C firms, though, were ahead in a few areas: social media advertising, user ratings and reviews, and online communities for customers and prospects.

Both business-to-consumer and business-to-business companies are rapidly adopting social media, unable to ignore a major destination of Internet users, says. But the two types of firms have different social site usage patterns.

Not only were B2B firms more likely overall to maintain a social network profile, they were managing profiles across more social sites and were significantly more likely to be present on Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube.

B2C companies were better represented on Facebook and MySpace.