Survey Reveals: The Top 5 Social Media Channels Companies Are Using

Time Not to TwitterI recently posted an article on my Blog on “How Many Social Media Channels Should Your Brand Be Using?” and it came to my notice this survey conducted by Minneapolis-based Russell Herder and Ethos Business Law in July 2009 and it highlighted the most popular “Social Media Channels” that corporate USA are using.

(They surveyed a total of 438 randomly selected management, marketing and human resources executives within companies across the United States that completed the online survey, providing a statistical reliability of plus or minus 4.8 percent at the 95 percent confidence level.)

So what were some of the findings?

They revealed the most popular “Social Media Channels” being used included:

  1. Facebook (80%),
  2. Twitter (66%),
  3. YouTube (55%),
  4. LinkedIn (49%) and
  5. Blogs (43%).

Note: I would encourage you to consider with your use of Social Media, that a Multi-Channel Social Media Policy can be most effective and provides great potential for leverage (see my post How Many Social Media Channels Should Your Brand Be Using?) as it allows you to post content and links to different channels that makes it easier for  the company’s message to be “found online” with very little extra effort.  

Tools are already available that allow you to post information from one location (Tweetdeck allows you to post a message and a link to  both Twitter and Facebook with one click) and Google Wave promises to interact and post to multiple channels such as email, photo sites and Social Media. Google Wave with its open software structure it promises much more, whether it is taken up by developers and used extensively by the social media users is still a big question.

Other insights from the survey included that management saw Social Media able to:  

  • Enhance relationships with customers 81%
  • Build our company’s brand 81%
  • Be a viable recruitment tool 69%
  • Be a customer service tool 64% 
  • Enhance employee morale 46%

One of the surprising predictions was that  73% of companies were intending to increase their use of  Social Media over the next 12 months. This has far reaching implications for the various interest groups including social media platforms, new media and social marketers. 

Despite this the report revealed that only one in three companies had a policy for Social Media.

So what did the survey say are 10 Important Elements to Include in a Social Media Policy : (Note: This is not exhaustive list but a good start)

  1. The Philosophy Should Reflect The Company’s Approach To Social Media: It should include the company’s overall philosophy on social media and be consistent with its culture, such as,  does the company have a supportive, open philosophy on the use of social media or a stronger, more limited embrace of this technology?
  2. Honesty and Respect: One of the most important aspects of a policy is a requirement that employees be open, honest, respectful and transparent in their usage of social media
  3. Confidential and Proprietary Information: Guidelines should reinforce the company’s confidentiality and proprietary information policies and apply such to the social media environment.
  4. Online Identity: When engaging in online social networking, it is important to differentiate an employee’s personal identity from his or her business identity.
  5. Focus on Job Performance: Does social media hurts workers productivity. For example, is it acceptable for an employee to post on a personal blog during their lunch break? Or, can an employee tweet on business-related topics during the work day? Remember, the new work force does not live in an eight-to-five world. The focus should be on job performance instead of “company time.”
  6. Avoid Conflicts of Interest: Conflicts of interest come in many forms – especially when engaging in social media. The policy should discuss how to identify potential conflicts of interest, what types of conflicts are prohibited and who to talk to when in doubt.
  7. Include a Disclaimer: Employees should make it clear that their views about work-related matters do not represent the views of their employer or any other person.
  8. Monitoring: The policy should state whether and to what extent the company has the right to monitor social media usage and identify any associated disciplinary guidelines.
  9. Universal Application: A social media policy should apply to everyone
  10. Other Policies: Other company policies, such as those on workplace environment, discrimination, harassment, ethics, code of conduct and others apply even in the cyber-land of social media.

The survey also revealed some concerns by management about Social Media, one being security

Sophos (one of the top 10 security software companies in the world) conducted a survey that highlighted its findings from a  report in February, 2009. These were their five tips to combat social networking security perils and for users to stay safe in the face of social networking.

  1. Educate your workforce about online risks – make sure all employees are aware of the impact that their actions could have on the corporate network
  2. Consider filtering access to certain social networking sites at specific times – this can be easily set by user groups or time periods for example
  3. Check the information that your organisation and staff share online – if sensitive business data is being shared, evaluate the situation and act as appropriate
  4. Review your Web 2.0 security settings regularly – users should only be sharing work-related information with trusted parties
  5. Ensure that you have a solution in place that can proactively scan all websites for malware, spam and phishing content

A Deloittes Survey also highlighted reputational risk as an issue that should be considered by corporate’s in their use of Social Media, but two revealing figures I found interesting in Deloitte’s survey was

  • 31%  of  CEO’s are on Facebook
  • 14% of CEO’s have a Twitter profile (this is actually 40% higher than the general population’s take up of Twitter)

So does your company have a “Social Media Policy” and do you think its important to have one?


  • Brendon

    Great post! I still believe that social media tools only really work for those with big budget – IE extra staff on the ground to run them. Big media houses really get the full force from these products, but the small one person business really doesnt have the time to invest. Interesting numbers though. Thanks for the effort

  • Rhonda Rogers

    July 2009 is too far back in history. I would like to see some current stats…. as of end year 2010 at least.

  • Nikolas Allen

    Jeff, you’re posts are always informative and insightful, BUT, I also tend to come across midpost hints that tell me I’m not reading the freshest material (now I understand why your posts are not dated).

    For example, I clicked a Twitter link to this post today, Feb. 7, 2011, then I see a report from two years ago. The world of social media moves so quickly, this report was probably out of date by the time it was published.

    I understand recycling content, but when your topic of choice is evolving rapidly, its expiration date becomes quite apparent.

    • Jeff Bullas

      Nikolas, thanks for the comment. I wouldn’t mind betting that the top 5 are still the ones in the survey. I do cull the Twitter scheduled posts from time to time that I believe are no longer relevant for Tweeting. Thanks for the feedback Cheers Jeff