US executives have come to value social media very highly to enhance relationships with customers and build their company’s brand, according to the “Social Media: Embracing the Opportunities, Averting the Risks” white paper from Russell Herder and Ethos Business Law.
More than eight in 10 management, marketing and HR executives responding to the July 2009 survey cited relationship- and brand-building as benefits of social media. Execs also considered social media a good tool for recruitment (69%) and customer service (64%), and 46% thought it enhanced employee morale.
Respondents reported using social media most for brand-building, followed by networking, customer service, and various research- and information-related activities.
Despite high levels of usage and awareness of benefits, executives still have fears about the issues raised by social media. More than one-half of those who did not use social media said they did not know enough about it, and four in 10 worried about confidentiality and security problems. Another 37% had concerns about employee productivity.
Such concerns are not new. A February 2009 worldwide survey by security software company Sophos found that 50% to 60% of companies studied blocked access to social networking sites from the workplace. “Productivity” was the most-cited reason, followed by threats from malicious software (known as malware) and data leakage (the possibility that employees might share proprietary information on these sites). In fact, 62.8% of the managers polled felt employees shared too much information via social networks.
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