The change over the last two years has been remarkable. In 2007, 43% of the 500 companies surveyed were not invested in social media as a marketing strategy. Today only 9% have not at least adopted one social media strategy.
The study which included 148 of Inc. 500’s fastest growing companies was conducted by Nora Ganim Barnes, Director of the Center, and researcher Eric Mattson. The chart to the left illustrates the growth in use of social networking, blogging, and Twitter with a decline in podcasting, bulletin boards and online video. When those surveyed were asked to gauge the success rate of their investment in social media, they reported an 82% success rate for Twitter and 87% using other social networking tools.
Nora Barnes states, “While so many things are leveling off, social networking and blogging remain strong, showing businesses are continuing to immerse themselves in social media and blogging even while others are getting cut back.” Barnes believes companies recognize the low to no-cost of using social media to promote products and services, often requiring no more than a small group from various departments within the organization to interact with customers. “Social media is the only thing I know that you can talk to a customer 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, a portal created between a consumer and a provider that allows constant and open discussion....If there is a problem, it can be immediately taken care of, making it easier to to address issues. Consumers like it and businesses like it because things don’t fester. Social media allows things to be handled quickly,” Barnes states.
The study reports that 68% of the companies interviewed are listening to hear what people in social networks are saying about their brands and business. That represents a significant increase from 2007 when only 50% were paying attention to what people were saying. Barnes remarks, “you shouldn’t only be talking on social media, you should be listening as well.”
The types of social media activities that these up and coming companies have engaged in over the last two years are listed below in order of use.
- Wikis - 92%
- Message & Bulletin Boards - 91%
- Podcasts - 89%B
- Blogs - 88%
- Social Networks - 87%
- Online Videos - 87%
- Twitter - 82%