33% of Business Managers Cite Confidentiality Concerns As An Obstacle to Social Media Adoption

Smart Brief on Social Media has released a report, The State of Social Media for Business, based on research across 6,500 business executives conducted with research firm Summus Limited.  The full 145-page study ($389 with a Smart Brief discount) is very rich , but even the executive summary (registration required) has some very interesting data points on the state of social media adoption in business.  The sample is not representative of a random sample of businesses, since respondents self-selected and can be assumed to be somewhat more interested in social media than average. About 60% of the sample are actively using social media.

The results underscore that the social media business market is still very young:

1. For most businesses, social media is still a relatively new tool. Only 13% have been using social media for two years or longer.  Almost half–48%–have been using social media for only 12 months or less.

2. The top 5 platforms: Facebook (49%), Twitter (40%), Blogs (35%), LinkedIn (28%), YouTube (24%).

3. It takes 2 years to figure out how to make social media work for your business (so get started now!): For companies who have been active with social media for two-plus years, more than 25% say that social media has been fully integrated into their companies’ business, and more than 50% say that they have a well- or fully-developed social media strategy.  Those numbers are much lower earlier on the adoption curve.  Additionally, once companies have been at it for 2+ years, the percent who say their strategies are “revenue-generating” or “very effective” rises dramatically.

4. The goals? Almost all (94%) business users of social media say their goal is to “increase awareness and interaction with our brand.”  76% say they want to create a community, 55% want to increase traffic to their web site, 50% want to identify and react to customer needs, 49% want to identify new business opportunities or leads.

5. Obstacles to adoption: Top of the list is a concern about confidentiality issues, cited by 33% of respondents.  21% say they are not allowed to use social media at work, and another 20% cite a lack of knowledgable staff.

6. Measurement is still an issue: Only 15% of businesses that use social media are measuring ROI; 31% said they are measuring ROI “somewhat.”

For more, check out the executive summary report here.