Social media influence in the workplace may be relatively small

If you’re a brand trying to influence key business contacts through social media, it may not be happening during business hours … and it may not be happening at all, according to new findings by WorkPlace Media.
While more than half (55%) of office workers with Web access have at least one social networking account, only 43% use it at work (for less than 30 minutes per day), according to the just-released survey. A Forrester study released yesterday reported that all Internet activity among consumers has leveled off at about 12 hours/week.
Even less encouraging for marketers, the study found that not having a presence on a social site made little difference to people’s opinion of a brand. And only 11% follow any major brand on a social network.
That view gets support from a recent Harris poll in which 21% of participants said they relied on face-to-face info from a family member or friend when researching a purchase decision,compared to only 4% who mentioned using online social networking sites such as Facebook,Linked-In or MySpace.
In the Workplace Media study, however, Facebook was by far the most popular social property,with 89% members of the site. The runner-up was MySpace (40%), followed by LinkedIn (31%), and Twitter (18%).
Of the 18% who reported acting upon a business or product recommendation on social networking sites, the top categories were: entertainment (53%), dining out (50%), groceries (23%), beauty care/cosmetics (21%), apparel (20%), and electronics and pet care (15%).
The survey was fielded in May 2009 among 753 American workers.
I can’t vouch for the accuracy of the methodology or research but at least directionally speaking, the results are interesting and beg further study into:
  • Is the use of social media at work increasing or decreasing?
  • How is the access to social media being influenced by emerging corporate policies?
    Do the trends differ by industry?
  • 18% acting on SM product recommendations seems significant, especially since the channel is still developing. How rapidly is this going to develop?
  • Since work/personal behavior on social media is merging, what about home access to SM?
  • How does this workplace study compare to other populations like students or people who work from the home?

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