Despite the relative maturity of social media usage amongst the working age population, and indeed despite the growing prevalence of social tools used within the workplace, there is a persistent love/hate relationship amongst many executives about social media in our workplaces.
Alas, progress is slowly being made, and there are considerably fewer workplaces now that ban social media usage entirely, whilst a growing vanguard deploy social tools and philosophies to better their business.
One area that has seen a degree of improvement is in the decision making process. A Forrester report provides a telling insight into just how this critical area of business life is changing. Indeed, the report concludes that social media is so popular amongst key decision makers that it has ceased to be required that data is segmented into those that use it vs those that don’t. Literally everyone does to one extent or another.
Nearly 400 senior decision makers were surveyed for the report on the way they go about making key decisions in their role. It emerged that 98% of those senior managers were what the report called ’spectators’ on social media. A spectator was defined as someone who consumes an awful lot of social media content, and does so on a regular basis. This could be reading blogs, watching videos or even listening to podcasts.
98% of key decision makers regularly consume social media content
A sizeable chunk of those spectators went even further with their social media usage however. The next group are what Forrester called ’joiners’, and 79% of decision makers were found to fit into this group. A joiner is someone that regularly creates and maintains profiles on various social networks.
A similar group to the joiners were also identified by the researchers. Some 75% of decision makers revealed that they regularly commented on existing social media content, whether that was commenting on blogs, leaving producing reviews or various other forms of social content. This group were branded as ’critics’ by the paper.
All of which painted a positive picture of senior social media usage. But that was not all. A further 86% of decision makers said they have read some tweets over the previous month. Another 40% said that they’d engaged in a LinkedIn discussion in some form over the same period. What’s more, none of them regarded this activity as something outside of their work roles.
“It’s no longer a question of whether you should use social, but how,” the authors said in the report. “B2B marketing executives no longer need convincing to invest in social.”
It marks a very pleasing shift in attitudes towards social media amongst our senior managers. The more they begin to see and experience the benefits that can be derived from using social media, the more it will become an accepted part of workplace life.
How active are the senior decision makers in your own organisation? Have you noticed a shift in their behaviour towards being more accepting of social media in the workplace? Let me know in the comments.