Recent social media surveys by Abrams Research, PR News, and Business.com show some changes in the way people are using social media for business.
We know it’s not advertising, but the big news is that the majority of business users seem to be catching on to that, too.
- Three quarters of the respondents used information gathered from social media in decision-making. A couple of years ago, only half the respondents used social media at all.
- Most online networking is with colleagues in the same field but in different companies.
- While most companies still see marketing as the main focus of social media, most individual respondents say they don’t like selling at social media — they don’t want to feel marketed to.
- 83% consider online networks a trustworthy source of information, compared with 92% trusting their physical-world networks. The gap is shrinking.
Clearly, we can’t all be marketers if no one is willing to be a marketee. But recognition that social media networking can have the same value as physical world networking (getting information, sharing knowledge with colleagues in other companies, stuff like that) can help companies get past confusing social media and advertising.
Some interesting smaller news:
- Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and YouTube are the major players– which order you put them in depends on which survey you read. I say your business needs them all, but don’t miss Derek Edmond’s post on niche communities.
- Website traffic and general visibility were the main rewards companies saw from their social media use. ROI was lower on the list in each case, hovering at about 15% of respondents listing it as the first metric they used in determining the value of the medium.
- While SEO/SEM is now ahead of online advertising when it comes to where companies plan to put their money, and social media is likely to be included in this cost, companies were also asked about what actual social media services they’d be willing to pay for. Facebook was the winner there, and then LinkedIn (where some people already pay) and then Twitter.