Social media surveys – the latest views

August 24th, 2010 by Jon Clements

Another day, another load of social media survey data to circumnavigate…

But interesting nonetheless.

First, a UK survey from Skillsoft (e-learning company), giving the social media view among “learning professionals”; noteworthy because it suggests that specific sectors are each finding a distinct value in embracing social media.

Unsurprisingly, the learning professionals recognised the social media worth in ”exchanging ideas to create community content” (28%) and “empowerment through shared knowledge” (28%) – not the usual marketing/customer relationship mantra one tends to find in analyses of social media usage. In fact, the brand awareness and sales/marketing applications of social media came respectively 4th and 5th as corporate benefits, according to the polled group. 

For those involved in learning, the emphasis of social media appears to fall on “collaborative online communications”. But then Skillsoft’s survey and accompanying commentary could be accused of straying into the mildly Utopian when it describes the power of social media to “create unprecedented knowledge bases that can empower entire industries and even society as a whole”. Not if people get fed up of Facebook’s privacy goalpost changing, it won’t.

As a footnote, it seems that having a social networking policy has not occured to most of the companies whose people answered SkillSoft’s poll. But it’s the issue of lacking serious investment in managing and measuring social media effectiveness that troubles Brand Builder Blog author, Olivier Blanchard, more.

This he picks up from the latest KingFish Media social media usage survey among marketeers, showing that only 9% of the 72% of companies with a social media programme employ someone to manage it while fewer than half (43%) don’t need to show positive ROI to get funding for their social media activities. Blanchard’s conclusion? “Dismal”. He does – however – acknowledge the limitations of the data, with most of the companies polled being small, mostly B2B marketing/media businesses.

Still, it might suggest that outside a few huge brands investing in comprehensive and dedicated social media activity, many organisations are still dabbling in the hope that something miraculous will happen. Maybe it’s because dabbling feels like a low-risk approach with a new, difficult to evaluate discipline -”undiscipline” even, as consumers don’t just behave themselves and act accordingly because social media is part of your marketing effort.

What Blanchard’s comments do underline is that it takes a combination of skills, time, effort and money for social media marketing to stand a chance of working.

About Jon Clements

Jon Clements is a Chartered PR consultant specialising in B2B PR, corporate and marketing communications and is the founder of Metamorphic PR. Connect at: JonClements ''

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