Many CEOs use social media sites like Facebook, MySpace, YouTube and Twitter personally, but few use them to communicate with stakeholders. And while 29% say social media can be a very or extremely effective way for companies to communicate, just as many find it ineffective. These are some of the findings of a September survey of 200 chief executives by public relations firm Burson-Marsteller and PRWeek.
So while CEOs are on these sites a lot (43% of the CEOs said they are on them often, including 19% who visit daily) it’s not for business. Only 18% say they use them to communicate with customers and other stakeholders.
48% say they lack relevance to the target stakeholder groups
37% voice concern about losing control of their message
28% worry about return on the investment
23% blame a lack of knowledge and capability within the company
Another reason may be that they’re not convinced of the payoff. While 62% see social media as having an impact on a company’s reputation, only 48% say it can change sales.
They seem much more convinced of the power of Word of Mouth and viral campaigns. 60% say those have more influence today than they did three years ago. Also rising in influence: trade media, blogs covering their industry, and traditional media including the Wall Street Journal (44% say its sway has grown) and BusinessWeek (24%). 67% of those surveyed will increase their spending on digital marketing in 2009.
Facebook’s the site most often used for public relations, but 71% of CEOs said their company web site is the best way to communicate with consumers during a crisis.
Burson-Marsteller thinks CEOs should be more social. In the press release on the findings, Mark J. Penn President & CEO says “CEOs should understand that many of their stakeholders are active users of social media and that it can be an extremely effective means for communicating a message. I would argue that companies that are not engaging in social media are taking a bigger risk than the companies that are.”
He’s on Facebook.
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