Page 5 of 6
IT Acceptance of Social Media
A study form Web security firm FaceTime Communications, released in July 2009, showed newfound recognition of social media's value and its widespread acceptance among IT professionals. FaceTime said its surveyed 1,100 prospects, customers and other IT professionals and found that "social networking is widely accepted by IT professionals - as long as it is secure and compliant." Social networking applications such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter were viewed as having some business value and therefore important to allow on the network by 46% of the IT respondents, and less than 10% believed that social networking should be banned in the workplace, said FaceTime.
"The widespread acceptance of social networking as a reality for the corporate network is a relatively new phenomenon," said Nishant Jadhav, director of Product Management for FaceTime Communications, in the company's press release. "However, managers are already recognizing the business value of social networking with 31 percent of respondents seeing significant business value and only 21 percent seeing no business value."
Compared with its fall 2008 survey, said FaceTime, the number of IT professionals reporting that social media is in use at their companies rose from 60% to 85%, and 87% said they personally use social networks on the corporate network
PRWeek and MS&L Social Media Survey
In their first-annual Social Media Survey, PRWeek and MS&L said they surveyed 271 marketers and found that 20% of the respondents said their companies "encourage all employees to use social media channels to share messages on behalf of the company or its brands." The study also found that 49% of companies do not have a specific approach regarding the use of social media, 10% discourage employee use of social media to communicate on behalf of the company, and 22% allow only marketing and communications employees to use social media on behalf of the organization.
Of the marketers who used social media in their marketing efforts, 65% said it was very important for connection to customers, 63% said it was very important for building company or brand awareness, and 49% said it was very important for managing corporate reputation.
Social Media Investment Growing
Studies by Aberdeen Group, Forrester Research, Deloitte LLP, PRWeek/MS&L , and the e-tailing Group and PowerReviews all showed that companies planned to increase their investment in social media initiatives in 2009.
Deloitte LLP's second annual survey of companies that sponsor online communities, released on October 5, 2009, found that 94% of the respondents intended to maintain or increase investment in their communities, while six percent plan to decrease investment. Based on a survey of more than 400 companies, according to Deloitte, the study showed "continued maturation of the enterprise's use of communities and social media." The "2009 Tribalization of Business Study" was conducted by Deloitte, Beeline Labs, and the Society for New Communications Research.
A report by Aberdeen Group, sponsored by Visible Technologies and released on March 11, 2009, found that 63% of "best-in-class companies" said they planned to increase their social media marketing budgets in 2009. Aberdeen said its report, "The ROI on Social Media Marketing: Why It Pays to Drive Word of Mouth," was based on an online survey of 275 marketers in January and February 2009.
Forrester Research in March 2009 released a report entitled "Social Media Playtime Is Over" by Jeremiah K. Owyang and other Forrester analysts. Co-author Josh Bernoff, explaining the findings on his forrester.com blog on March 16, 2009, said that the study was based on a December 2008 survey of 114 marketers currently using social media, out of the 145 interactive marketers surveyed, and that Forrester found that 53% said they planned to increase spending, 42% planned to spend the same amount, and 5% said they would decrease spending.
The marketers in the sample are from companies with at least 250 people, and three quarters of them are spending $100,000 or less on social technology projects, said Bernoff. "This is a drop in the bucket compared to other marketing expenditures," he said.
Bernoff said the findings "reinforced what I'm hearing out there anecdotally, which is an awful lot of marketers asking for (and paying for) advice on this topic."
What's driving the social media movement, said Bernoff, is the fact that, as Forrester reports in its study, "These inexpensive tools can quickly get marketing messages out through interactive discussion and rapid word of mouth, and properly managed, can deliver measurable results."
Another study by Forrester Research, conducted on behalf of Shop.org, the online retailing division of the National Retail Federation, an industry trade group, found that 34% of e-retailers say social marketing has increased sales. Forrester's "State of Retailing Online 2009" report, released in September 2009, found that 58% of the e-tailors said the primary return on investment for using social media was in listening to and understanding customers.
Asked why they were engaging in social media, 54% said they were pursuing social media to avoid being latecomers, 50% said it was because of the buzz surrounding it, 28% because competitors were using it, and 15% said to satisfy senior management. In addition, 34% said social media has helped to grow the business.
In a March 2009 report, eMarketer revised its social media advertising spending projections, saying growth would be slower than previously expected because of the down market. eMarketer reduced its estimate of the growth of worldwide spending on social network advertising to 17%, reaching $2.4 billion, down from its prior projection of 32%, or $2.7 billion.