Social Media Report

Social Media reports are starting to show significant awarness and adoption rates by Corporate America. Forresters lastest report on Social Media, and this one by University of Massachusetts, researchers Eric Mattson and Nora Ganim Barnes show very positive Social Media growth, in all Social Media areas.

The following summary of this report is copied from the website of The Content Wrangler, a good blog for Social Media information and news. Thank you to The Content Wrangler for this report run-down.

The Hype is Real: Social Media Invades the Inc. 500

The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth’s Center for Marketing Research conducted a nationwide telephone survey of those companies named by Inc. Magazine to the Inc. 500 list for 2006 under the direction of blog researchers Eric Mattson and Nora Ganim Barnes. Nearly one quarter (121) of the Inc. 500 participated. The Inc. 500 is a list of the nation’s fastest-growing private companies announced in the September issue of Inc. Magazine.

Given that previous research shows only 8% of the Fortune 500 currently having a public blog, this research was undertaken to see if there was a difference in the knowledge and usage of social media in companies selected by growth rate rather than revenue. This research proves conclusively that social media is coming to the business world at a faster rate than many anticipated. It also indicates that corporate familiarity and usage of social media is racing far ahead of what many have predicted.

The respondents are diverse in industry, size and location. They include 4 of the top 10, 7 of the top 25, and 22 of the top 100 companies from the Inc. 500 list. The 121 companies who responded were asked detailed questions concerning their usage and measurement of social media. Questions probed familiarity of respondents with prominent social media (blogging, podcasting, online video, social networking, wikis). Given the frequently uncertain definitions of these media, common understanding of each form was achieved by providing definitions from Wikipedia at the time of the survey.

The social media that is most familiar to the Inc. 500 is social networking with 42% of respondents claiming to be “very familiar with it.” Familiarity is related to usage. It is interesting to note, however, that even those forms of social media less familiar to the participants are still used by at least 11% of them. Over one quarter of the Inc. 500 studied report social media is very important to their business/marketing strategy.

Executive Summary

The hype is real.

The social media revolution is coming to the business world. Already there have been signs; from Google’s acquisition of video juggernaut YouTube for $1.65 Billion to MySpace‘s 120 million users to the 63 million blogs that Technorati tracks. But, the question has been, when, and even if, business will start to embrace the powerful technologies of social media?

The 121 companies who responded were asked detailed questions concerning their usage and measurement of social media. Their responses are surprising and will likely shock even the most fervent believer in social media. They indicate that corporate familiarity and usage of social media is racing far ahead of what many have predicted. The research results presented here are statistically valid at +/- 3%.

Respondents were asked to rank their familiarity with each technology from “very familiar” to “very unfamiliar.” The social media that was most familiar to the Inc. 500 is social networking with 42% of respondents claiming to be “very familiar with it.” However, as the graph below shows, across the board a significant percentage of the companies are “very familiar” with each of these technologies. The bottom line is that the Inc. 500 knows far more about social media than one might predict.

From familiarity, the survey moved into the companies’ actual usage of social media. The companies were asked if they were using the six social media discussed above and, if yes, for how long they had been using them. Again, the results are surprising. While familiarity is related to adoption, even the least familiar media of wikis has 17% adoption. All six forms of social media are far more widespread than anticipated.

Not only is this widespread adoption being driven by strong familiarity but also from the recognized critical role of social media to a company’s future success in today’s online world. When queried on the importance of social media, 26% of respondents felt that social media is “very important” to their business and marketing strategy.

From familiarity to usage to importance, social media is far more prevalent in the Inc. 500 than previous research would predict. And where these fast-growing, innovative companies lead certainly the corporate world will follow.

The social media revolution is here. The hype is real.

Keeping track of social media research
A more thorough analysis of the research into social media adoption by the Inc. 500 will be published in several journals throughout 2007. To be added to an email distribution list so that you can stay abreast of the most recent research and writings on this subject, email Eric Mattson or Nora Ganim Barnes, Ph.D..

Thanks for your read this week,

Power to the People…Social Media

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One Response to “Social Media Report”

  1. Scott Abel Says:

    Thanks for giving me credit for the post. I appreciate the exposure. However, you might want to be careful with this approach, as the above content is not mine and is under copyright of Nora Barnes and Eric Mattson. I’m fairly sure they won’t mind the reprint, but it might be best to contact authors prior to reusing content. Copyright laws are being tested in courts today, but most agree that reuse without permission is a violation. I actually get written permission to reuse their content to svoid any potential legal snafus.

    Again, thanks. And, keep spreading the social media word.

    Scott Abel
    TheContentWrangler.com

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