CEOs Split On Social Media Effectiveness

42% use social media

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When it comes to social media 29 percent of CEOs believe that social media tools can be an effective way to communicate with stakeholders while an equal amount (29%) believes social media is ineffective according to a survey from PRWeek and PR firm Burson-Marsteller.

The survey found that 42 percent of CEOs personally participate in social media outlets, but just 18 percent of CEOs have used social media to engage their company’s stakeholders.

CEOs Split On Social Media Effectiveness

These CEOs do not use social networking sites, such as Facebook, MySpace and YouTube, to communicate with key stakeholders mainly because they believe social media is not a "relevant" channel to reach stakeholder (45%).

"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," said Mark J. Penn, Burson-Marsteller’s President & CEO. "I would argue that companies that are not engaging in social media are taking a bigger risk than the companies that are."

Although not all CEOs are sold on the idea that social media can be a business communications tool, many agree that Word of Mouth (WOM) conversations that are often driven by social media can have a significant impact on their business.

CEOs believe that WOM has the fastest growing impact on a business’ overall reputation, with 60 percent saying its influence has increased in the past three years.

When it comes to crisis communications, 71 percent of CEOs agree that a company’s Web site is the most effective way of communicating with customers during a crisis.

More than half (67%) of CEOs said they will increase their spending on digital marketing in 2009.

CEOs Split On Social Media Effectiveness
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  • http://www.fourthfloormarketing.com Fourth Floor Marketing

    Great to hear that companies are going to be expanding their use of digital marketing for next year.  This is the one industry that you can expect to keep your job in despite the rough economy, especially since many of us are self-employed.  I am 19 years old so I’ll be looking around this summer for an internship, hopefully I find a company where I can teach their CEO a thing or two about how to market on the internet effectively and how to speak to people via social networks.

    Hmm and your comment form doesn’t seem to like the name James Spinosa, so I guess I’ll use the name of my blog.


  • http://www.sinotechgroup.com.cn Dr Mathew McDougall


    Interesting post. I guess this suggests that Social Media Marketing still has a ways to go but without more details on the survey methodology it is hard to make definitive conclusions.

    Can you provide more information on the survey itself? For example, how many CEO’s were in the sample group. What industries they represented etc…. this information will be very revealing in terms of their level of understanding of digital marketing etc.

    Looking forward to others inputs and views on this.



    • Mike Sachoff

      Hi Matt,
      Here is the information you requested. Thanks for reading.
      The PRWeek/Burson-Marsteller CEO Survey was conducted by PRWeek and Millward Brown using the ERI panel. E-mail notification was sent to approximately 53,180 corporate professionals and a total of 200 CEOs (100 CEOs who have one or more employees at the company who are responsible and/or take on full responsibility of all PR activities and 100 CEOs that work with an external PR consultant or firm) completed the survey online between September 24 and September 29, 2008. The results are statistically tested at a confidence level of 90%. Results aren’t weighted.

  • http://www.stayfreshup.com/blog/2008/10/30/getting-website-maintenance-done-with-a-plan/ Tertius

    I agree that it’s better to join in than not.

    But saying that it’s the alpha and the omega is really a bit far fethced for me.  IMO it’s a medium in which to communicate to an audience, but it’s extremely new and largely untested as something that is mainstream.  I know there are large amounts of users, and if they fall into your demographic then great, but taken in context of the total demographic it’s still a minority.

    Better marketing with Social Media than not.  Just don’t spend too much money on it just yet…

  • http://www.KahunaContent.com Richard Telofski

    A survey confidence level of 90%?  Why bother?

    Unless the rules of statistics have changed, I remember from stat class that a 90% confidence interval represented questionable validity.  The results of this survey are certainly interesting from a conversational standpoint, but with a 90% confidence interval I wouldn’t even think of taking them to the bank.

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