Almost half of senior marketing professionals admit staff are not allowed access to sites such as Facebook and Twitter, meaning they are unable to effectively monitor their clients’ brands, a new survey has found.
The McCann Erickson UK Social Media survey found two-thirds – 65.6 per cent – of marketers admit they do not have adequate knowledge about using social media correctly for the purposes of marketing.
Despite the findings, 86 per cent acknowledge social media is now here to stay and is not just a fad.
Almost half – 46 per cent – of the senior marketing professionals that responded admit their IT departments pro -actively block access to popular sites such as Facebook and Twitter.
But those that do allow access cited Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn as the top three most-used social networking sites.
McCann Erickson, which has a major office in Birmingham, said the lack of understanding of social media as a marketing tool may explain senior marketers reluctance to grasp its potential.
Joanna Randall, head of PR at McCann Erickson Bristol, the office which conducted the survey, said businesses cannot afford to switch off from social media outlets.
She said: “There is a real thirst for information and knowledge on the subject of social media which is constantly evolving – making it hard to keep up with the latest trends.
“This study highlights that some of the UK’s major businesses are ignoring social media channels – but they do so at their peril.
“Word of mouth is now more powerful than ever; opinions can be shared with a global audience at the click of a button; we all have the ability to influence, both positively and negatively, and therefore as marketing professionals we should be considering how best to harness the power of social media.”
The survey also revealed that 67.5 per cent of marketers thought social media is used more by the under-25s, despite a Nielsen survey finding people using Twitter tend to be older than this.
Forty-two per cent of traffic on Twitter.com is made up from 35 to 49-year-olds, with the majority – 62 per cent – accessing it only at work.
Opinion was split on how social media impacts on traditional forms of communication – for example, telephone and face to face – with 48.2 per cent agreeing that this new form of “keeping in touch” has a negative impact on traditional communication methods versus 51.8 per cent disagreeing.
Three-quarters of those questioned – 75.9 per cent – did acknowledge that social media has a place in business, commercial communication and marketing activity.
And those that are proactive in using social media cite profile raising and PR purposes as their main reasons for using sites like Facebook and Twitter.
Researchers for the survey quizzed 100 UK-based marketing and communications professionals at manager level or above.