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Social Media Reality Check 2.0
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  • Usage is higher among communications professionals than it is among consumers: For the most part, communications professionals are using social media more often and on a wider variety of platforms than consumers. In fact, only 26% of consumers say they use six or more forms of social media, while 48% of practitioners say the same.
  • Despite the more limited range of sites that consumers use, frequency of social media use is comparable between communication professionals and consumers. Social media usage is concentrated among younger consumers aged 18 to 34, 65% of whom are online more than once a day. Consumers who use social media once a day or more are, generally speaking, more likely to believe that social media is a credible source of information regarding products or services, and are more likely to purchase a product based upon a recommendation they found on a social media site (79%).Among communications professionals, those whose organization has established social media objectives are more likely to use social media once a day or more (70%), and, in particular, those who use Twitter are likely to use social media more than once a day (49%). Public relations professionals are the most likely of all communications professionals to use social media frequently; 76% report being online once a day or more.
  • News, information, and ideas motivate communications professionals to use social media. Few professionals use social media in order to meet new people; rather they are primarily interested in staying informed and keeping up to date with the latest in their industry. Those whose organizations support social media usage with codified objectives and a dedicated budget tend to be the most likely to use social media for these purposes, while those who profess a lower understanding of social media are less likely to be engaged. Public relations professionals are more likely than most to pursue social media to meet these ends, while marketing professionals are particularly interested in the capacity of social media to assist with investigating products and services (55%).
  • Contrasting with the uses that communications professionals find for social media, consumers are utilize these media for more conventional tasks. Keeping in touch with friends and family is by far the most common use for social media among consumers. For younger users, aged 18 to 34, social media is viewed as a not only a means to stay in touch with friends, but is also an entertainment hub (79%), a source of news and information (59%), and a place to share their ideas (49%). Professional uses for social media, such as keeping in touch with colleagues or monitoring talk of their business are much less common among consumers. That said, those who engage with social media on a daily basis are the most likely to exploit the professional potential of social media.
  • Overall, both consumers and communications professionals feel that they have an adequate understanding of social media. The majority of both communications professionals and consumers, however, also believe that they could be making better use of social media than they currently do. Communications professionals who work in an organization that have a dedicated staff and budget for social media are far more likely to claim they understand the intricacies of social media communication. Among consumers, the younger generation aged 18 to 34 is the most likely to state that they completely understand social media, and those who find social media to be a credible source of information are also more likely, in general, to state that they understand it.
  • Half of communications professionals agree that their stakeholders find blogs and other online sources provide honest and balanced perspectives. A third, however, feel that corporate initiated blogs are self-serving and are not believable sources of information. Predictably, those who are most engaged in social media (use it frequently, have set organizational objectives, etc.) are more likely to agree that their stakeholders find honest, balanced reviews online.
  • Consumers view social media to be a relatively credible source of information. Half feel that social media sites are more credible than traditional advertising, while fewer agree that social media is more credible than word of mouth. Six in ten agree that corporate initiated blogs are suspect, while the same proportion agree that they can find more honest and balanced reviews online than they can elsewhere.
  • Communication professionals put more stock in the power of social media to sway opinion. Forty-one percent of communications professionals agree that their stakeholders are strongly influenced by what whey read in social media. Consumers, however, are comparatively less convinced of the persuasive power of social media, with 10% fewer agreeing that their opinions have been positively or negatively influenced by what they read. One point of consistency between the two groups is the belief that reading a product or review online can affect purchasing behaviour.
  • Despite only half stating that reviews online will influence their purchasing behaviour, 37% of consumers say that they have purchased a product they heard about on social media first. Consumers agree that social media influences the following choices:
  • Despite only half stating that reviews online will influence their purchasing behaviour, 37% of consumers say that they have purchased a product they heard about on social media first. Consumers agree that social media influences the following choices:
  • Communication professionals are more likely to think that stakeholders believe that social media engagement improves a company’s reputation, however only a quarter of consumers agree with that sentiment. Consumers are much more likely to disagree that they are loyal to companies with a social media presence, whereas only one in ten communication professionals would say the same of their stakeholders.
  • Communication professionals are more likely to think that the majority of stakeholders believe that social media engagement is indicative of transparency and trustworthiness, whereas consumers are less likely to agree with those sentiments. Among consumers, those aged 18 to 34 (33%) and those who use social media once a day or more (29%) are the most likely to place their trust in companies that are actively engaged with social media.
  • Although only one third of communications professionals claim that their organization has a dedicated social media division, most report strong support from senior management of its merit as an communications strategy. This support runs strong across all communications industries, save for government relations, where the most professionals neither agree nor disagree that their management supports their social media goals (23%).
  • A third of organizations have formal objectives pertaining to their social media strategy, and another four in ten have objectives that are not codified. Those who say they have at least a basic understanding of social media are more likely to have a formal set of objectives than those who do not (35% vs. 10%). Corporate communications or public relations departments most frequently are tasked with managing social media campaigns and meeting social media objectives. Marketing divisions also participate, but to a less extent.
  • Communications professionals identify numerous objectives in their social media campaigns, and outline how they measure against those objectives:
  • About half of communications professionals are familiar with what is being said about their organizations on blogs. Those whose organizations are engaged with social media such as Twitter, or have a team dedicated to social media objectives are considerably more confident in their knowledge of what is being said in the blogosphere. While only a third are aware of the degree of interconnectivity of bloggers, this relatively high proportion indicates a that there is a growing recognition among communications professionals of the importance of blogs in today’s communication landscape.
  • A relatively high proportion of communications professionals are aware of their organization’s presence in social media. Those who are employed by public relations and media relations organizations have a strong tendency to have a well developed knowledge of their company’s social media presence. The high proportion of those who profess a familiarity with their company’s social media presence demonstrates the increasing importance of social media in today’s communications fields.
  • Most communications professionals indicate that they have a good sense of the types of messages that circulate within social media networks about their organization.
  • Among those organizations which do purport to budget for a social media portfolio, communications professionals typically expect more funding for this field next year. Another quarter expect the funding to remain the same. That being said, more than half of organizations do not budget specifically for social media at all.
  • More than half of communications organizations have a twitter account. Predictably, those with formal social media objectives are the most likely to report having an account (87%), as are those who budget for social media (85%). Public relations companies (87%) and media relations companies (84%) are the most likely to have an active Twitter account.
  • Nearly half of communication professionals use Twitter during organization events. Product launches are among the events where Twitter is most commonly used. Marketing professionals and government relations professionals are particularly inclined to utilize Twitter during these events. A third of communications professionals employ Twitter during company parties, and one fifth do so at annual general meetings and at town hall meetings.

Transcript

  • 1. Research Findings from the 2011 Study
    Social Media Reality Check 2.0
    Dave Scholz, Executive Vice President, Leger Marketing
    Laurie Smith, Vice President, Canada Newswire Group
  • 2. Background
    2
    One of the most quickly evolving areas in the communications profession is social media.
    In 2009, CNW and Leger Marketing conducted the first Social Media Reality Check, a unique study that explored professional communicators’ use of social media compared with consumer opinions about social media influence on their purchasing behavior.
    This year, we’ve conducted the second installment, and
    uncovered some interesting findings.
    Questions to be Answered:
    • What are communication professionals’ perceptions about the use of social media and what’s their / their company’s stake in it? How is it changing/growing? Are they on the right track with their audience?
    • 3. How does the general public use social media to gather information about the products they use and companies they follow? Are they more positive/loyal/trusting of those companies?
  • Research Method
    Two target groups were invited to take the survey :
    Sample of 590 Canadian communication professionals who use social media – 77% of all professionals
    Sample of 1039Canadian consumers who use social media – 69% of all Canadians
    1
    Target groups were accessed via CNW contact lists and Leger’s online panel. Respondents completed a 10 - 15 minute online questionnaire from April 19 – May 9, 2011.
    2
    Findings from both target groups were analyzed together. Results from the 2009 study were compared to this year’s results.
    Results can be considered accurate to within +/- 4.03% for communication professionals and +/-3.04% for users, at the 95% confidence level.
    3
    3
  • 4. Social Media Usage
    among consumers and communications professionals
    4
    Within this report, comparisons and key findings from the 2009 iteration of this study are found within a blue border like the one shown here.
  • 5. Most Used Sites
    In 2009, usage levels of social media was significantly lower than it is in 2011. Twitter, in particular, has become nearly ubiquitous among communication professionals. The use of blogs has remained stable over the past two years.
    Communications Professionals
    Consumers
    2011
    2011
    2009
    2009
    Q. Which of the following, if any, have you used professionally ? Base: Communication professionals (n= 1039)
    Q. Which of the following have you used? Base: Consumers (n= 590)
    5
  • 6. Frequency of Use
    While the frequency of social media usage by communications professionals has remained consistent since 2009, the number of consumers who use social media more than once per day has increased by 10%
    About six in ten use social media once a day or more
    Q. In general, how often would you say that you use social media as part of your professional role ? Base: Communications professionals (n= 590)
    Q. How often would you say that you use social media applications? Base: Consumers (n= 1039)
    6
  • 7. Uses for Social Media Among Communications Professionals
    The top three reasons for using social media still apply as they did in 2009.
    Q. In general, what do you use social media tools for professionally? Base: Communications professionals (n=590)
    7
  • 8. Uses for Social Media Among Consumers
    While the 2009 study examined personal and professional uses separately, keeping in touch and entertainment are still on top.
    Q. In general, for what do you use social media tools? Base: Consumers (n=1309)
    8
  • 9. Understanding of Social Media
    As in the 2009 study, there is a knowledge gap evident among both consumers and communications professionals about how to maximize their social media presence.
    More than three quarters from each group at least somewhat understand social media.
    Q. Which of the following best describes you? Base: Communication Professionals (n=590), Consumers (n=1039)
    9
  • 10. Credibility of Social Media Among Communications Professionals
    In 2009, 49% of communications professionals agreed that corporate initiated blogs are self-serving and not believable. This number has decreased substantially in 2011(31%).
    Stakeholders find honest, balanced reviews online that they would not have found otherwise
    48% Agree
    Stakeholders find corporate-initiated or sponsored blogs self-serving and not credible
    Only 31% Agree
    Q. Please indicate the extent to which you agree with the following statements: Base: Communications professionals (n=590)
    10
  • 11. Social media credibility among consumers
    This year, nearly double the number of consumers indicate that they find honest, balanced reviews online when compared to the 2009 results (60% vs. 34%).
    Proportion of consumers who agree that…
    60% Agree
    57% Agree
    Corporate-initiated or sponsored blogs self-serving and are not a believable source of information
    I find honest, balanced reviews online that they would not have found otherwise
    Q. Please indicate the extent to which you agree with the following statement s: Base: Consumers (n=1039)
    11
  • 12. Social Media: Shaping Opinions
    Communication professionals tend to put more stock in the persuasive power of social media than do consumers. This is consistent with the 2009 findings
    Proportion of professionals who agree that…
    Proportion of consumers who agree that…
    Q. Please indicate the extent to which you agree with the following statement s: Base: Communications professionals (n=590), Consumers (n=1039) The above indicates percent of those who agree.
    12
  • 13. The Influence of Social Media On Consumer Purchases
    Smaller purchasing decisions are the most readily influenced by social media. Financial decisions are less influenced by social media.
    I would trust social media to help me make decisions on…
    Q. I would trust social media to help me make decisions on… Base: Consumers (n=1039)
    13
  • 14. The Influence of Social Media On Consumer Purchases
    Smaller purchasing decisions are the most readily influenced by social media. Financial decisions are less influenced by social media.
    I would trust social media to help me make decisions on…
    Q. I would trust social media to help me make decisions on… Base: Consumers (n=1039)
    14
  • 15. Social Media: Loyalty and Reputation
    The findings in 2011 concerning reputation and loyalty are nearly identical to the findings in 2009. Consumer opinion has remained virtually unchanged. What is also unchanged is the tendency of communication professionals to overestimate the value of a social media presence.
    Consumers
    Communications Professionals
    Q. Please indicate the extent to which you would agree with the following statements… Base: Communications professionals (n=590), Consumers (n=1039).
    15
  • 16. Social media: Trust and Transparency
    Although the proportions differ from 2009, the same patterns emerge in 2011; communications professionals believe social media has more impact than do consumers.
    Consumers
    Communications Professionals
    Q. Please indicate the extent to which you would agree with the following statements… Base: Communications professionals (n=590), Consumers (n=1039.
    16
  • 17. Key findings for communications professionals using social media
    17
  • 18. Organizational Support for Social Media
    In 2009, only 57% reported that senior management supported the use of social media – this number has increased dramatically in 2011 to 81%.
    Does your organization have an employee(s) dedicated to social media?
    Proportion of communications professionals who agree…
    Q. Does your organization have an employee or team of employees dedicated entirely to social media (i.e. a community manager)? (n=590)
    Q. Please indicate the extent to which you would agree with the following statements… Base: Communications professionals (n=590),
    18
  • 19. Social Media Objectives
    The number of organizations with formal objectives has increased from 2009 (31% vs. 26%), and the number of organizations with no objectives has declined substantially (31% in 2009 vs. 17% in 2011).
    Which Departments?
    Formal Objectives:
    31%
    Q. Do you set formal, measureable objectives related to what you want to accomplish with social media ? Base: Communications professionals (n=590)
    19
    Q. Which departments have responsibility for social media at your organization? Base: Communications professionals (n=590)
  • 20. Social Media Objectives
    Like in 2009, campaign success is most commonly measured by traffic counts, however the engagement measure has risen dramatically (25% vs. 43%).
    Q. How would you characterize your social media campaign objectives? Base: Communications Professionals (n=590)
    Q. How do you measure against those objectives? (n=590) (The above does not show a complete list)
    20
  • 21. Blogging and Social Media
    Relative to 2009, more communications professionals are following the blogosphere. Each statement saw a marked increase since 2009.
    Communications professionals agree…
    Q. Please indicate the extent to which you would agree with the following statements… Base: Communications professionals (n=590)
    21
  • 22. Social Media: Knowledge of Your Organization
    There has been a dramatic increase in awareness of a company’s social media profile compared to 2009. Social media has seen a veritable explosion in the world of business over the past two years.
    Communications professionals agree…
    Q. Please indicate the extent to which you would agree with the following statements… Base: Communications professionals (n=590)
  • 23. Social media messaging
    In 2011, communications professionals are significantly more aware of the messages that circulate in social media. In particular, more than triple report that they know where their message is and how fast it is changing (22% vs. 72%)
    Communications professionals agree…
    Q. Please indicate the extent to which you would agree with the following statements… Base: Communications professionals (n=590)
    23
  • 24. Social media budget
    Double the proportion of organizations report a dedicated budget to social media in 2011 vs. 2009 (30% up from 15%).
    Does your organization have a social media budget?
    What will your budget look like next year?
    Q. Does your company have a budget devoted specifically to social media? Base: Communication professionals (n=590)
    Q. Do you expect your organization to have a larger or smaller budget to spend on social media next year? (n=177)
    24
  • 25. Twitter Usage
    Twitter has exploded in popularity since 2009. As a result questions were formulated to specifically address its prevalence among communication professionals.
    Does your organization have a Twitter account?
    Q. Does your organization have a Twitter account? Base: Communication professionals (n=590)
    (The above is not a complete list)
    25
  • 26. Social media usage at
    events
    With the increase in social media’s popularity in the world of business, the 2011 Social Media survey included questions about its usage at corporate events.
    Do you use social media for your organization events?
    Do you use social media tools, like Twitter, during your organization's live events? Base: Communications professionals (n=590)
    (The above is not a complete list)
    26
  • 27. Multimedia Usage
    Photos and videos are the most common forms of multimedia that accompany news releases. Cost and lack of resources are the primary obstacles which prevent the inclusion of multimedia in releases.
    What Types?
    N=344
    Do you distribute multimedia with news releases?
    Q. Do you distribute multimedia assets (i.e. photos, video, audio clips) with news releases to engage online audiences? (n=590)
    27
  • 28. Conclusions
    Social Media is the “new normal”
    Has not replaced any channels – it’s simply another one
    PR practitioners are early adopting and consumers are following
    Those who are more engaged have more trust in it as a viable channel
    28