Businesses still fear Social Media

in Social Media Marketing

Two recent research studies indicate that many businesses still fear social media. The primary reasons for this fear are security, trust, employee productivity and lack of knowledge about social media. According to a research study by Sophos in April 2009, 63% of the business surveyed worry that workers are sharing too much information on social networking sites. In a July 2009 research study by Russell Herder and Ethos Business Law, 81% of respondents perceive social media as a corporate security risk, and 51% fear social media could be detrimental to employee productivity.

The Russell Herder / Ethos Business Law research provides some interesting findings about the current state of social media in businesses:

  • Over 80% believe social media can add value for enhancing customer relationships and building the company’s brand.
  • 40% of companies block employee access to social media sites. This is a similar statistic to the Sophos study.
  • Senior management are primarily using social media in a reactive manner for activities such as reading what customers are saying about the company, monitoring competitors, watching what employees are sharing, etc.
  • However, 87% do not have social media included in crisis communication plans.
  • Of those not using social media, 51% are because they don’t know enough about it.
  • 73% of companies surveyed project increasing use of social media in the next year.

The research highlights some interesting contradictions. A significant majority of business managers recognize the value of social media. However, many are not proactively pursuing social media as part of their core business or marketing strategy. And there are still 2 in 5 companies blocking their employee’s use of social media.

How to use this information to benefit your business

  • Social networking isn’t new – it’s been around forever. People meet in social situations inside and outside of work and discuss work related topics. They meet on golf courses, around the proverbial water cooler, conferences, pubs, etc. Social media uses the power of the Internet to add new capabilities and instant worldwide communication with larger groups to social networking. Consider it within this context to formulate a social media plan and usage guidelines for your business.
  • You need to participate in social media. Although there is risk, there are significant opportunities for your business – see the What is Social Media Marketing? article for more information.
  • Another reason to participate in social media is to manage your business reputation. See the Managing your online reputation article for guidelines to deal with social media comments about your business.
  • You can’t and shouldn’t avoid social media – as more Millennials and subsequent generations join the workforce and move up in organizations, they will actively use social media to become part of the regular business environment. Millennials are a growing segment of your customer and employee community.
  • Fear of social media is mostly based on insufficient knowledge and misunderstandings. Learning about social media and participating on an incremental basis is the best way to overcome the fear, manage the risks and pursue the opportunities.

Copyright © 2009 Ingistics LLC and Marketance™

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