Canadian business leaders have mixed feelings about the usefulness of social media, according to a new poll of 400 executives conducted by Queen's School of Business.
Four in 10 (39%) of the bosses surveyed said social media is something they feel they need to use whether they want to or not, while close to an equal number (35%) said they use social media heavily because they feel it represents a good opportunity for their business. The remaining 24% said social media doesn't add any value to their business.
Despite this, a strong majority of the executives surveyed (72%) said they are planning to invest the same or more in social media this year versus last; perhaps that's because 39% believe the top benefit of it is increasing brand awareness. Other popular reasons for investing in social media included: recruiting talent, gaining a deeper understanding of their customers, getting new business/growth and networking.
One common worry for many executives, according to the survey, is how the use of social media by employees might affect the company's reputation. For example, close to nine out of ten business leaders (88%) surveyed said that participation in social media after hours can potentially have an "extremely positive or negative" impact on the company's brand.
"What happens on Twitter doesn't just stay on Twitter," says Kate Rowbotham, professor of human resource management at the Queen's School of Business. "People may feel that their participation in social media is personal, but the boss doesn't necessarily agree that your opinions are just your own."
But it doesn't seem like managers are going to do anything about their worries just yet, since only 22% of the business leaders surveyed feel social media use by employees outside working hours should be monitored.
To download a PDF of the survey findings, visit www.business.queensu.ca.
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