Senior executives at European businesses are more likely to use social media platforms than their more junior colleagues according to a major study commissioned by Google.
The study of 2,700 professionals in the UK, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and Sweden found that 71% of senior business executives are using social media at least once in their working week compared to 49% of more junior staff.
In total 69% of those surveyed said businesses that embrace social tools will grow faster than those who ignore it, and 45% say that businesses that do not embrace social media will not survive.
Senior executives believe social media will have a positive effect on business performance if used correctly. Of the senior executives questioned by Millward Brown on behalf of Google 79% said that social media will bring together thinking amongst geographically dispersed teams, 76% said it will boost productivity, while 72% said it s will help workers find information, people and expertise.
The main reasons for using social media
- 41% - finding people, information or expertise more quickly
- 37% - collaboration and knowledge sharing
- 34% - widening personal networks, building professional relationships, raising profile and creating communities
- 31% - reducing the volume and length of emails
Source: Millward Brown/Google
Three quarters of the overall sample believe that social tools will change the way businesses operate in the future and help companies grow faster. The same amount of workers believed social media has made them more proactive.
Mamta Saha, psychologist and director of Think Spa, said the fact that senior staff use social media will encourage junior staff to take it up. “It is interesting that the findings show that senior managers are making greatest use of social tools. With this being the case, we may well start to see a filter-down effect, with the more ambitious junior staff recognising their potential as a networking opportunity to interact and impress their senior managers.”
“The tipping point for mass adoption within an organisation may come when those who are not on the network start to feel they are missing out,” added Saha.
According to a recent survey carried out by cloud-based customer experience software maker Satmetrix, of over 1,000 global businesses, companies are failing to exploit the business opportunities created by social media.
The B2B sector in particular is failing to spot the benefits and risks of social networking, with over half of businesses having no means of tracking conversations about them on social media platforms and 75% not measuring or quantifying social media activity.
The government is also keen on getting its social media use right. Last week the Government Digital Service, part of the Cabinet Office, published a guide for civil servants to advise them on how to use social media platforms such as Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.
In the same report the Home Office also provided guidance for civil servants working in IT on how to overcome the technical barriers to accessing the internet and social media.