Google Survey Examines Social Media Use in Business


While some business leaders and journalists believe that social media sites waste time, distract from work and drain a company’s resources, others just as firmly believe that social media has become critical to conducting business in the digital age.

To help focus the debate on facts, Google commissioned a study with the London-based marketing and research group Millward Brown to examine how social media is used in business today. As a European company, Millward Brown researchers interviewed 2,700 business professionals who work in Western Europe about their social media habits in the workplace.

The study found that while nearly one third or 32 percent of the respondents reported that they used social media every day for job-related purposes. As well, almost half or 46 percent responded that they hoped to increase their on-the-job use of social media tools.

Three-quarters of the senior-level managers surveyed for the study said that social tools are altering business strategies, with many stating that social media had helped to improve their organization’s productivity and to reduce the time it takes to find information.

The study also found that a large proportion or 81 percent of respondents who reported they worked for high-growth businesses, with 10 percent growth or higher in 2011, are using social media tools to spur business expansion. In addition, social media is eliminating silos within organizations and is making the workforce more collaborative. Approximately 80 percent of the respondents from the high-growth companies reported that social media had improved collaboration and knowledge-sharing within their organizations.

A not so surprising result of the study was the positive effect that social media can have on job satisfaction and career advancement. Of respondents who used social media for their job “frequently” (at least once a week), 86 percent reported that they had been recently promoted and 72 percent said they are likely to be promoted, compared to 62 percent and 39 percent respectively of respondents who do not use social media in their job.

Almost three-quarters or 71 percent of the senior-level managers surveyed said businesses that embrace social media tools in the workplace will find it easier to attract and keep the best talent. Among senior-level respondents, 76 percent stated that organizations which embrace social media will grow faster than those that “ignore” the technology. In addition, 53 percent of the senior managers said businesses that do not embrace social media will ultimately fail.

Hedley Lawson, Contributing Editor
Managing Partner
Aligned Growth Partners, LLC