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MS&L PR Week 2009 Social Media Survey


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Despite the perceived prevalence of the use of social media in the marketing world, there are many companies that are still cautiously entering the space, according to the inaugural PRWeek/MS&L Social Media Study. One of the outcomes is that many marketing and communications professionals are still grappling with the best way to incorporate social media tactics in their overall plans and strategy. For more information about PRWeek, visit

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MS&L PR Week 2009 Social Media Survey

  1. 1. Social Media Survey 2009 barriers / transparency barriers / transparency risk / reputation/ /transparency / / reputation / risk / best practices / engagement / / reputation / risk / / engagement / monitoring engagement monitoring / / / / ethics monitoring best practices / / / / barriersROI ROI / / ethics ethics / / / / best practices / / RO Marketers are still grappling with the best way to incorporate social media tactics into their overall plans and strategy
  2. 2. Reality ch Despite the perceived prevalence of the use of social media in the marketing world, there are many companies that are still cautiously entering the space, according to the first annual PRWeek/ MS&L Social Media Survey. By Kimberly Maul W hen General Motors introduced its “[With] Twitter on the cover of Time, social net- reorganization as the “new” GM in working on the cover of BusinessWeek, and President June, it looked to social media as a way Obama as the marketer of the year, social media is a to reach stakeholders, create a dialogue, seminal topic,” says Jim Tsokanos, president of North and demonstrate that it understood the worries of its America for MS&L. “But despite that, 66% of com- audience. Working with MS&L, the company used munications professionals have not made changes” Facebook and Twitter, even offering up its CEO to to products or marketing based on customer feedback answer questions via the microblogging service. gleaned from social media, according to the survey. “We were an extremely big piece of the communi- The survey also found that 49% of companies do not cations plan around the Chapter 11 filing and the have a specific approach regarding the use of social reorganization,” says Christopher Barger, director of media on behalf of the company. Ten percent discourage social media for GM. The company used Twitter pri- employees to use social media to communicate on behalf marily, tweeting nearly 200 times within 24 hours, of the company, while 22% allow only marketing and answering questions and concerns. “People respected the communications employees to use social media on behalf fact that we were out there and trying to be open.” of the organization. Twenty percent of companies encour- Social media has definitely become part of the every- age all employees to use social media channels to share day consciousness of consumers. Though several compa- messages on behalf of the company or its brands. nies like GM are fully embracing the phenomenon as a marketing tool, the first-annual PRWeek/MS&L Social Opportunity for everyone Media Survey found that many companies are still “I don’t think it’s a discipline, strategy, or tactic that behind the social media curve. needs to be run by a specific discipline, because I think Of the 271 marketers surveyed, 37% report that social media has the chance to open up entire opportu- their company does not include any social media tools nities across an organization,” says Bonin Bough, global as part of marketing efforts. Of the 63% that do use director of digital and social media at PepsiCo, citing social media, 67% use social networking, 46% use digital how HR professionals can use social media. video and audio tools, 45% use blogs, 33% use micro- “When we live in the world of the empowered con- blogging services like Twitter, 28% use RSS feeds, and sumer and everyone has a point of view, and they 16% use Wikis. share it at the speed of light, for companies to not have 34/ 2009
  3. 3. check policies in place to guide how social media can be uti- lized by their employees, I thought was very interesting,” Tsokanos adds. 37% report that For the companies that are using social media in mar- their company keting, there are different reasons for doing so. When does not include asked about the top three uses of social media within any social media their companies, 47% manage and monitor customer tools as part of marketing feedback, while 40% reach key influencers. Other uses efforts include understanding the consumer and competitive landscape (39%), creating brand communities and fan pages (32%), media relations (31%), lead generation (31%), product launches (28%), product reviews (19%), and monitoring conversations (6%). “Twitter, Facebook, these are our branches,” says Jim Kelly, COO of ING Direct. “These are the ways we’re having the conversations that people in an office or a branch might have with customers on a daily basis.” “THERE IS A TIME FOR ING Direct started using social media about a year ago as a way to communicate with customers who had SELLING AND A TIME worries about the economy and finances. As a virtual FOR CONVERSATION. bank, the brand was able to use social networks to engage customers in conversations about financial issues and OUR FOCUS IS ON topics. Earlier this year, the company hosted tweet- THE CONVERSATION“ ups, connecting with consumers off-line at the bank’s Jim Kelly, ING Direct café in New York. “Almost 85% of our transactions are done by customers over the Web,” says Kelly. “The last thing I want to see is OVERALL USE OF SOCIAL MEDIA IN MARKETING BARRIERS TO IMPLEMENTATION Which of the following social media tools are you using in What are the biggest barriers to successfully incorporating social media into your company’s marketing efforts? your marketing campaigns? 50 60 50 40 40 30 30 20 20 10 10 0 0 Lack of Lack of Not Lack Lack of Lack of Social Fear Lack of Lack of Social Digital Blogs Microblogs RSS feeds Wikis None of internal knowledge, convinced of clear awareness budget media not negative global appropriate networking audio/video (e.g., Twitter) these resources/ expertise about the guidelines/ of social appropriate reaction reach/ agency time value/ROI policies media for co./ from our scale partner within co. brand customers Base: 271 Base: 271 October 2009/
  4. 4. an ad for a mortgage on Facebook. There is a dialogue worked with Federated Media to get blogs written about going on there and we have a voice – I would say it’s the launch, distributed videos virally, and used a count- consumer-friendly – and we want to be a part of that down clock to the launch to build buzz. dialogue if we can do that.” Ford’s social media outreach also takes into account Handling social media internally, the brand has a the global nature of its business, explains Scott Monty, presence on Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook. It also digital and multimedia communications manager. “Our offers savings widgets on iGoogle, reviews of its cafés social media strategy is pretty simple,” he says. “It is on Yelp, and financial advice on a We the Savers blog. essentially to humanize the company by connecting our The survey found that 91% of companies manage social constituents with our employees and with each other media strategy internally, compared to 9% that use an when possible, to provide value along the way.” external partner. Marcy Shinder, VP of brand management for Ameri- Local focus can Express Open, says the company saw social media According to the survey, 64% of respondents say their becoming more popular around September 2008. The social media focus is local, compared to 36% who say it brand launched the New Economy Blog in response is global. Additionally, 55% take a long-term approach, to the economic situation at the time and worked to versus 45% who prefer a short-term one, and 55% work provide more information about social media to its small- to shape the conversations about the brand, compared business-owner members. to 45% who use social media to listen to conversations American Express Open, which works with AOR about the brand. M Booth, launched a specific social media cam- “Like PR, social media is very local,” Tsokanos says. 6.7% of marketing paign in July, promoting the official launch of its Open Forum, a social network for small business owners. “We’re seeing that business owners are becoming “So as the marketplace shifts and changes, being able to provide global scale is really going to be important. That’s where we want to be with social media.” budgets are being dedicated more engaged with social media,” adds Shinder. “Our “The objective for us is to be where our members to social media marketing was almost entirely viral.” Twitter is the site’s are, so that’s why we’re not just in one place,” adds programs third-highest ranking driver of traffic, and the brand Nataki Clarke, director of marketing for AARP, which last year relaunched and got more involved THE RESPONDENTS in social media. “The strategy is to really use these Which best describes your title? vehicles to have a two-way conversation with them, 35 which is a risk because you’re not always going to love 30 what they have to say.” In companies where funds are being shifted for social 25 media, 48% is coming from advertising, 40% from di- 20 rect marketing, 29% from media planning and buying, 15 and 18% from PR. A majority of companies, 59%, reported that there is 10 no specific funding for social media activity, while 31% 5 said funding is being shifted from other marketing and 0 communications budgets, and 10% are establishing addi- VP of SVP of marketing marketing CMO VP-other Director/ Marketing Senior Brand assoc. dir. manager marketing manager Product manager Other tional funding and new budgets specifically for social of mktg. manager media. On average, 6.7% of marketing budgets are being Base: 271 dedicated to social media programs. As far as where social media activity falls in the mar- FOCUS OF SOCIAL MEDIA EFFORTS keting mix, both American Express Open and AARP Which of the following best represents your social media business focus? say PR or corporate communications leads social media, while Kelly says marketing leads it at ING Direct. GM’s Listening to conversations about the brand Barger says communications led social media in the past, but with the company’s reorganization, marketing is Short-term helping more in that space. Global In the future, 56% of respondents believe marketing will manage social media activities going forward; 18% say PR; 6% say digital; 6% say a separate social media group; and 14% believe it will be a new hybrid depart- Local Long-term ment of marketing, PR, and communications. Shaping conversations Tsokanos tells PRWeek that he sees resources and about the brand funding for social media “coming from everywhere.” “Both business and communications are going through Base: 271 a revolution, if not a complete transformation,” he 36/ 2009
  5. 5. Evolution of social media strategy PepsiCo “It’s amazing, the shift that tions, and campaigns into con- we’ve seen,” says Bonin Bough, versations. Recently, its Gatorade global director of digital and brand combined a Michael Jordan social media for PepsiCo. “Now broadcast TV spot with social you can actually openly have a media, encouraging fans to post conversation, an actual live con- their memories of Jordan and his versation with companies about legacy on Facebook. almost anything.” The company continues to Bough, who joined the com- evolve by bringing in perspec- pany in September 2008, says tives from the outside. PepsiCo PepsiCo started off by getting is “constantly bringing thought on a variety of different network- leaders in the space to sit down ing sites for each of its brands. with us and collaborate with us,” It is currently working to really Bough explains. “It’s making sure integrate social media into the that you’re bringing a lot of new overall “ecosystem of communi- thinking into the organization on cations and marketing,” and a continual basis to collaborate shift impressions into connec- with you.” adds. “While it is more of a communications mind-grab today, in the future, social media will certainly be focused on business generation.” convinced of the value or ROI. Other barriers include lack of internal resources or time (53%), lack of clear guidelines or policy (38%), lack of awareness of social 56% of respondents And being able to accurately measure how social media within the company (37%), and fear of negative believe that media impacts a business is an important element reaction from consumers (16%). marketing will for a brand getting into the space. “People either don’t manage social have a clear knowledge and understanding [of social The ROI question media activities going forward media] or they don’t have the necessary tools to measure Sara Greenstein, SVP and CMO of product safety ROI,” he says. company Underwriters Laboratories (UL), says, “It’s Indeed the survey shows that 43% of respondents the kind of thing that instincts tell you it’s the right report a lack of knowledge or expertise as a barrier to thing to do and you’ve got to be there, but we’ve yet to using social media, and 39% report that they are not prove how to measure that return on investment.” UL did its first social media campaign in the fourth FUNDING quarter of 2008, reaching out to mothers of young Which of the following best describes how social media children. The company, working with its consumer AOR activity is currently being funded at your company? MS&L, used Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, and blogs to spread the message of public safety. Additional funding and The timing of introducing social media worked because new budgets have been established to support the campaign “had a big push and some momentum,” investments in social media adds Greenstein. “Our thought was, ‘We’re doing a There is no funding for social media activity comprehensive, integrated campaign; let’s try to feed them some information they can feed each other.’” Funding for social She says UL saw a lot of customer response to its media is being shifted from budgets that in the presence on social networking platforms, but nothing past were committed to other marketing and that she would deem a true measurement of ROI. comms activities “We’ll do it this year and see how it can compare Base: 271 to last year,” notes Greenstein. “But that’s not what I would call a true ROI.” October 2009/
  6. 6. The survey found that companies are using a wide range SPENDING SHIFTS of tools to measure the effectiveness of social media cam- From which of the following disciplines is funding being shifted to support investments in social media? paigns. Fifty-four percent of companies that have done a 50 social media campaign in the last year monitored impact on Web site traffic, while 42% measured impact on sales 40 and revenue. Others measured impact on brand awareness and favorability (37%), share of online discussion (37%), 30 and pickup in mainstream media (19%). Beyond proving ROI, Greenstein adds that another 20 49% of companies barrier is that companies aren’t ready to have that kind of risk around their reputations. AARP’s Clarke agrees. “I honestly think the biggest barrier is that lots of 10 0 do not have a companies aren’t used to having that two-way dialogue,” Advertising Direct Media PR Other marketing planning/ specific approach regarding social she says. “It is risky to the brand, but I think the rewards buying Base: 84 media use on far outweigh the risk.” behalf of the Shinder at American Express Open sees how small bu- company sinesses can be afraid to get involved with social media. SOCIAL MEDIA IMPACT “I think barrier number one is that To which of the following aspects of business is social media activity “very important”? they don’t know what’s in it for 60 them,” she says. “And since they don’t know what’s in it for them, 50 they don’t make it a priority.” 40 She says American Express Open 30 works to explain the value of social media, including using it as a way to 20 promote their businesses, stay con- 10 nected to customers, and keep up with 0 competitors and trends. Connecting Building Managing Generating with the company corporate sales and Increasing/ Managing maintaining crisis Managing stakeholder The survey sought respondents’ customers or brand reputation revenue awareness market share opinions of company opinion about how important so- Base: 271 cial media activity is to several aspects of business and communi- cations. Of those who use social IMPORTANCE Which of the following will have the most impact on the success of your company or brand over the next year? “WE ARE GOING TO BE ADDING Media buying/planning RESOURCES THIS YEAR IN ORDER Social media TO TAKE IT TO THE NEXT LEVEL“ Direct marketing Sara Greenstein, Underwriters Laboratories PR media at their company, 65% said it is very important for connection to customers, compared to only 35% of Advertising those who do not use social media at their company. Base: 271 Sixty-three percent said it was very important for building company or brand awareness, compared to 34% of those who do not use social media. As far as managing corporate reputation, 49% at companies that use social media in marketing say it’s very important, compared to 65% 63% 49% of those who of those who of those who 34% at companies that do not use social media. use social media use social media use social media Only 29% of respondents who use social media said it at their company at their company at their company was very important for crisis communications, compared say it is “very say it is “very say it is “very to 18% of those who do not use social media. The dis- important” for important” for important” connecting with building brand for managing parity in response between these groups clearly shows customers awareness reputation that those who have not used social media are not quite convinced of its value or purpose. 38/ 2009
  7. 7. 54% of respondents OVERSIGHT Is there a need for a credible third-party source to provide social media ethics and standards, or do you believe the Web should be self-governed? “We find it a very positive vehicle or medium because basically we’re interacting with consumers and guests in a genuine, real manner,” says Mark Chmiel, EVP and CMO believe marketers of Denny’s. “It’s real time; it’s real comments. Even the are following negative ones, we want to hear it and make it better.” ethical guidelines Denny’s started getting involved with social media a in social media A credible third-party little more than a year ago. As a hospitality brand, the the same as they did a year ago source is needed to provide social media ability to connect with its customers was a huge draw. ethics and standards The restaurant chain particularly turned to social media for its All-Nighter program, engaging with a young- The Web should be er demographic around music and food using social self-governed media like Twitter and Facebook. Denny’s works with Filter, the AOR for the All-Nighter program, for social Base: 271 media support. Hill & Knowlton helps the company with more traditional PR. ETHICS Maintaining ethics Which, if any, of the following activities have been part of your company’s No matter how much social media work a company social media programs? engages in, Chmiel emphasizes that integrity and ethics 60 are of the utmost importance. 50 “The biggest barrier is maintaining a real integrity,” 40 he says. “We identify who we are. Some companies, they 30 may go into it with an anonymous masquerading. We 20 do the exact opposite. We’re a company that engages and 10 wants to converse in this social environment. “You have to remember,” Chmiel continues, “as much 0 Positioning Changing content Removing Offering gifts Paying cash None of these as we can use social media to build our brand, build sales, our company- related to your negative for company or for company generated content company that comments or blog reviews or product and so on, it can just as quickly boomerang on you if you’re as consumer- others have posted content from blog reviews generated in social media social media not sincere and straightforward with the consumer.” According to the survey, 54% of respondents believe Base: 271 the marketing industry is following ethical guidelines Evolution of social media strategy Ford Motor Company Though Ford has been using customers, and potential social media in various forms customers, are. Ford also for a number of years, “it introduced, wasn’t until last year that we a social media hub, bringing really started to get serious together Ford-generated and about it and put a strategy consumer-generated content. in place to really address The plan is all about incor- it,” says Scott Monty, digital porating social media to reach and multimedia communica- various company constituents: tions manager. retirees, dealers, and suppli- Monty came on in July ers, to name a few. And with- 2008, and the brand started in the brand, work with social looking to sites like Face- media is becoming more inte- book, Twitter, YouTube, and grated. Monty says, “We’re Flickr as a way to humanize seeing more of a synergy the company, connect with between PR and marketing constituents, and be where than we ever have before.” 40/ 2009
  8. 8. in social media the same as it did a year ago, with 20% PERSONAL USE OF SOCIAL MEDIA reporting that companies follow guidelines less, and Which of the following social media platforms do you use primarily for personal reasons? 27% say that companies follow guidelines more. 80 “I believe the industry is working harder to follow 70 guidelines in what seems to be a changing-by-the-day landscape of social media,” says Paul Rand, president 60 and CEO of Zócalo Group and president-elect of the 50 Word Of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA). 40 “But I do think giving people continued clarity and 30 direction is really a good thing.” 20 The survey asked respondents about several practices 10 within social media that could be considered ethically 0 Facebook LinkedIn YouTube Twitter MySpace Flickr Digg questionable. Though 57% of those surveyed say they have not engaged in any of the listed activities, 21% have Base: 271 positioned company-generated content as consumer- generated content, 13% have changed content about the brand on sites like Wikipedia, 11% have removed USE OF FEEDBACK negative comments or content from social media, 7% have Have you ever made a change to your products or marketing efforts based on consumer feedback from social media sites? offered gifts for company or product blog reviews, and “IN THE FUTURE, SOCIAL MEDIA YES WILL CERTAINLY BE FOCUSED ON BUSINESS GENERATION“ Jim Tsokanos, MS&L NO 4% have offered payment for com- Base: 271 pany or product blog reviews. “The first two are surprising to hear,” Rand says. “Anything that (61%); and managing stakeholder opinions of the com- really smacks of a lack of transpar- pany or its brands (48%). Crisis management was the only ency or a lack of disclosure auto- aspect where more respondents believe the impact will matically goes into the realm of be the same (49%) than more (41%). ‘use your head and don’t do it.’” UL is already planning the next phase in its social media WOMMA has been working to strategy. After not allocating enough resources to keep the update its Ethics Code Guidelines, program ongoing, “We are launching again in Q4 and it and even recently clarified its point on will be in a sustained fashion going forward into 2010 providing any type of compensation and beyond,” Greenstein says. “We are going to be adding for product reviews or endorsements. resources this year in order to take it to the next level.” Tsokanos says MS&L works “The best value I can describe from what we’ve done so with WOMMA guidelines. “It’s far is that customers are happy that we’re there and that something that the industry should we’re engaging them using this medium,” ING Direct’s 79% of respondents develop together as guiding principles,” he notes. “It should be something that is enforced and supported by the industry and not the government.” Kelly says. “I think there is a time for selling and there is a time for conversation. And where we’re going to keep our focus is on the conversation.” ● say social media will have more Looking ahead The PRWeek/MS&L Social Media Survey was conducted by of an impact on Going forward, social media will continue to be an im- PRWeek and CA Walker. E-mail notification and invitation connecting with portant part of communications and business, according to complete the survey was sent to approximately 7,385 consumers in the next year or two to the survey. The majority of respondents say that marketing executives. A total of 271 respondents completed social media will have more of an impact on the following the survey between June 25 and June 30, 2009. aspects over the next year or two: connection to custom- Results were not weighted. At this sample size, results are ers (79%); building company or brand awareness (76%); associated with a +/-5.1 margin of error. This article only offers generating sales and revenue (63%); increasing or maintain- a summary of survey findings. Full results are available for ing market share (62%); managing corporate reputation purchase for $150 by e-mailing 42/ 2009