There are many studies today that benchmark the use of social media tools and the frequency with which they are used. We examined not only the tools used, but the resulting benefit levels of various tools. Additionally, we looked at levels of use across functions, ownership structures, and internal use of social media.
Survey respondents reported LinkedIn and Facebook as the most highly utilized by the organization (28 percent and 24 percent of respondents, respectively). However, users of these tools generally reported lower benefit scores than users of Twitter and YouTube. There was a small, but highly loyal, MySpace and Yammer following and users of these two tools had the highest reported benefit scores. Although this is directionally interesting, MySpace and Yammer were excluded from our recommendations due to low sample size.
Upon examining perceived benefits in further detail, we found differences in terms of which tools seem to produce better benefits across various metrics.
It is not surprising that HR professionals would get the best results by using LinkedIn for candidate-related metrics. In fact, LinkedIn seems to provide more benefit to the HR function than any other organizational function. However, it is interesting to note Facebook had much lower reported benefit for candidate-related metrics despite its dominating social media footprint.
Functional Level of Use
Level of use varies widely between HR and the Marketing and Communications functions. Human Resources departments either avoid social media tools or participate as a “taker” while most Marketing and Communications functions operate as either “givers” or “stimulators.” This is likely explained by Marketing and Communications’ early adoption of social media and progression to deeper use.
Social Media Ownership
The most prevalent structure is multi-functional and represents either shared organizational ownership or functional ownership over departmental activities. The creation of a separate social media function remains rare (with only three percent of respondents reporting) and these dedicated groups generally operate in conjunction with the other functions rather than independently. Human Resources has some role in ownership of social media 32 percent of the time.
We also examined different ownership structures to see which reported the highest level of benefit. Organizations with cross-functional social media ownership (at a minimum, HR, Marketing, and Communications) reported the highest level of benefit across all metrics. Communications is a strong contender for sole command of social media within an organization as this structure also produced good levels of reported benefits. Unfortunately, HR's involvement does not make a marked difference in reported benefit levels other than in the number and quality of candidates. This may be symptomatic of HRâ€™s lagging use of new media relative to Marketing and Communications.