Communications Survey: Why do members use social media?

In my last article about social media, I wrote about what the results of the communications survey told us about the limited importance of social media in members’ marketing communications strategies. The survey results also gave some insight as to the intended purpose of member companies’ social media efforts.

Based on my previous observations of member social media usage, we listed attracting new customers, maintaining relationships with existing customers, providing technical support, promoting products, and recruiting new employees as possible purposes for social media use. When looking at the aggregate communications survey results, the highest-ranked purpose overall was to attract new customers, with over one-third of respondents stating it was a very important purpose. Maintaining relationships with existing customers and providing technical support were both of some importance. Product promotion was rated as relatively unimportant and recruiting employees as not at all important.

The overarching trends weren’t always the same across company type and size. For instance, although providing technical support was of only some importance overall, manufacturers considered it to be more important than other groups while suppliers considered it to be less important. Even though attracting new customers was most important overall, distributors mostly rated this as only somewhat important. They also rated recruitment as an important purpose, despite this purpose ranking least important overall. The larger the company, the more likely the respondents were to rank maintaining existing customer relationships as important and recruitment as not important in social media strategy. In fact, respondents from larger companies overall said recruitment was the least important purpose while those from small companies said recruitment was important.

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