The Customer has Spoken – twice: 2 reports on social media business benefits

For the organization still trying to decide whether social media is a trend or a fad and therefore useful for business, consider the following two studies.

From The 2009 Business Social Media Benchmarking Study

Ben Hanna, Ph.D. recently authored and published via this 45-page study, which provides insights into business social media usage provided by nearly 3,000 North American business professionals.  The report covers utilization by individuals as well as adoption by companies.  Here are a few of its observations.

1. Nearly half of all US adults now participate in social networks, and regularly use these networks to find business-relevant information such as product information, peer reviews, and product support.  So many people regularly use social networks that it is impractical to pigeon-hole them demographically and therefore imprudent to dismiss your customers and prospects as not likely users.

The top 3 most popular social networking sites, not surprisingly, are FaceBook, Twitter and LinkedIn.  Ironically, according to Robert Half International, 54% of company CIOs surveyed ban the use of Facebook and Twitter at work – similar to how they once banned Internet surfing and personal email.

2.  Nearly 65% of respondents reported using social media as part of their normal work routine, including reading blogs, visiting business profiles, or using Twitter to find information and communicate about business related matters.

3.  The most popular use of social media resources for business are:

a – accessing product and service information

  • attending webinars or listening to podcasts (69%)
  • reading ratings/reviews for business products or services (62%)
  • visiting company or product profile pages on social media sites (61%)

b – communicating about product and service information

  • participating in online business communities or forums (51%)
  • reading or downloading business related content on 3rd party content sharing sites (50%)
  • asking questions on Q&A sites (49%)
  • subscribing to RSS feeds of business related news or information sites (35%)
  • Participating in discussions on 3rd party sites (29%)
  • Using Twitter to find or request business related information (29%)

One interesting statistic ought to pop out above: over half of all survey respondents participate in online business communities or forums.   In other words, it is highly likely that your customers and prospects are talking about you, your customers and your competition right now.

From 11 Twitter Success Stories

This paper, available at , provides detailed case studies on 11 companies who measurably achieved their ROI objectives using Twitter as a communications channel.

Examples include building community, managing customer services, selling, prospecting, raising branding and awareness, and fund raising.

The paper is prefaced with a very useful how-to guide called “Essential Twitter Tools” for making use of Twitter-related tools, gadgets and resources to get the most out of Twitter.


Have you read these studies?  Are you attaining business benefits through social media?  What results are you getting?   Reply / comment below.


6 thoughts on “The Customer has Spoken – twice: 2 reports on social media business benefits

  1. I love the write-up and the comments. Years from now, we will look back at 2009 as the year web search and as a results brand/product marketing, etc. got transformed in a big way. My latest creation TipTop, a semantic, social Twitter search engine, is now available in a beta version at . Please give it a try. TipTop is also a great marketing vehicle that you can perhaps write about in your next blog post. Thanks.

  2. Ed, I’ve read the Marketing Profs study and have seen the stats from the other one. It’s obvious that the old school of marketing is increasingly irrelevant and the onus is on businesses to do a better job of understanding customers’ needs (vs. trying to create a need with clever messages and spin) before developing content and online experiences.

    1. Thanks for writing, Jim!

      See my November 16 post on how technology creates and destroys – but always wins; it supports your statement.

      Customers are continuously and explicitly telegraphing their wants, needs and interests online. The irreversible shift of control into the hands of the buyer through advancements in consumer technology must be acknowledged by the seller, or the seller risks being left behind by more nimble, adaptable rivals.

      Have a great day!


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