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Social media not important for work, most readers say

More than half of respondents to this week’s RBJ Daily Report Snap Poll say social media sites are not important to their work or professionally.

Only 15 percent say social media sites are a very important component to their work or professional life.

At 37 percent, LinkedIn topped the list of social media sites readers found most useful professionally. Facebook— which last week said it now has a half-billion members—was a distant second, with 11 percent, and Twitter was picked by 5 percent.

Of those who do use social media for work, 36 percent say it is for career-related networking and job searching, and 32 percent cited job-related networking with industry peers. Nearly 30 percent use social media for marketing, public relations and sales.

Roughly 550 readers participated in this week’s poll, which was conducted July 26 and 27.

How important are social media sites to you in your work or professionally?
Not at all important: 42 percent
Not very important: 20% 
Somewhat important: 23% 
Very important: 15% 

Which social media site do you find most useful in your work or professionally?
None: 43% 
LinkedIn: 37% 
Facebook: 11%
Twitter: 5% 
YouTube: 3% 
Other: 1% 

What do you use social media sites for professionally? (Check all that apply)
Career-related networking (including job searching): 36% 
Job-related networking with industry peers: 32% 
Marketing/PR and sales: 29% 
Gathering ideas for new products or services: 15% 
Customer feedback and service: 14% 
Hiring (recruiting, background checking): 14% 
Tracking industry competitors: 13% 

Here are some comments from readers:

As someone who is very actively job-seeking, I learn of new job openings very quickly through word spreading virally on social media sites such as Twitter, LinkedIn and others. And now so many companies are rushing in to get involved with social media sites (and thus seeking qualified job candidates to manage their social media). As a marketer, this makes it critical that I have the experience and savvy to guide them toward profitable use of those sites to build their businesses, rather than have their foray into social media fail as simply a “me-too” fad and distraction that may erode the value of their brands.
—Christopher Burns, Rochester

Twitter is a great way to follow the live action on a trade show floor. By using the show hashtag, you can read the reaction of show attendees to the exhibitors and presenters, real time. It’s a great way to get immediate feedback and interact with other people at the same show.
—Megan Alchowiak, Mirror Show Management

As a PR professional, I am on Twitter (via TweetDeck) all day long. It’s perfect for communicating “soft pitches” to the media (even specific reporters) and sharing news with interested industry groups. It’s also an ideal way to track topics and issues of interest to clients. Just this past Friday, a series of retweets went out to more than 15,700 followers, all of them key target audiences and roughly the same number as the circulation of a small-city daily newspaper.
—Megan Connor Murphy, Dixon Schwabl

The challenge is updating. It appears that even though the average age of users is older than what people expect (30s), I observe that the teens/early 20s do a more thorough job of updating.
—Diane McClure, vice president of media and account services, Pulse Marketing Group

For a pure sales, job they would be useful. For other fields that require a dedication to task, they are a distraction.
—Karl Schuler

Although they are not an absolute necessity, social sites are a great way to stay in touch with people. Sites like LinkedIn allow you to stay in touch with hundreds of clients, co-workers and friends, past and present. Case in point: I was recently at a networking event and when I was back at home I looked up the 10 people I had met; nine were on LinkedIn. I have managed to stay in touch with all of them since. It is a great way to build and strengthen your network. “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.”
—Kenny Harris, EPIC Advisors

The sites are OK. The reason these are even used is the cost. Why not use a tool when it’s free? It’s a hit-and-miss if they help or not. It’s just something a little extra.
—Anthony Casserino

Working in a college environment, social media sites like Facebook are extremely important as they are the primary media used by our students/customers. What better way to reach them than to be “in” with their generation’s technology?
—David McIntyre, quality improvement and training manager, SUNY Cortland Auxiliary Services

People forget. Social media is an important component of public relations keeping the name and the buzz out there.
—Nancy Gong, Gong Glass Works

It’s still too early to tell which media will work best with my industry. Currently there are too many sites chasing too few active participants. This so-called social media will be important one day, so one must be in it now to make the best choice later.
—Bob Miglioratti, Re/Max Plus Realtor/Partner

Not only do social media sites allow us to “stay connected,” but they also foster communities that we would otherwise not be involved with. These communities facilitate expedient information sharing, a common sense of purpose as well as an open forum to share opinions. The applications are endless and each individual can leverage these sites in a customized fashion to meet his/her specific needs and goals.
—Greg Weishaar, the Superior Group

If you are doing business on the Internet, social media is a crucial factor in starting, building and maintaining your business. It’s not just one social media website you need to use. You need to use all the major websites: Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace (which you didn’t even mention in your list above) and Twitter. You didn’t mention the need for your business to have a blog. The search engines love blogs. We used to say, “You are what you eat.” Now we say, “You are what Google says you are.”
—Clifford Jacobson, WebHomeUSA.com

Most social media sites are not used for business, at least not commercial business. Maybe for strict consumer-related businesses. LinkedIn is the only site that I use and even that one sparingly. Most commercial businesses frown on their employees using social media sites as they can become more of a distraction than productive.
—Rick Bradley

(c) 2010 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or e-mail rbj@rbj.net.


One comment

  1. As industries continue to churn and evolve to be more competitive in this economy, sites like LinkedIn are a great way to keep in touch with past colleagues, friends and business acquaintances. Many times, I may not have the answer to a question, but someone in my network does!

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