Can Social Media Penetrate The Exec Suite?

Almost every day I hear people suggest that social media is at best only valuable as a marketing tool. There are people who believe that social media has no reach beyond a few "geeks" sitting at their computers all day. What these naysayers focus on is the technology and not the people connections. I believe it is the people connections that drive social media and it is the value of these connections that will continue to change the way we work and communicate.

With your help, I'm looking to measure the potential social media to connect people worldwide, even those senior executives and naysayers who are not already using social media. Here's how:

Three Simple Steps

We've built a very short survey on social media's value in business – nothing new here – but here's the twist: We're using social media as the vehicle, and social media evangelists (you) as the fuel, to get the survey into the hands of as many people as possible who are not yet using social media.

Here are three easy and quick steps to becoming a social media evangelist for this research:

  1. Go to http://forrester.com/2010socialsurvey and fill out the survey (all responses welcome) – it takes approximately 5 minutes;
  2. Refer two friends to the survey:
    1. Email a link to the survey
    2. OR tweet about it
    3. OR blog about it
    4. OR post a link in your online community

(if you really want to evangelize you can of course do more than one of these things).

 

When you participate, you can request you own summary of the results when they are published, and by sharing the survey, you can also take a share of the credit in demonstrating the power of social media to connect people.

What Does The Survey Measure?

The survey will provide insight into the following:

  • The reach of social media through social connections;
  • The awareness of social media policies in the workplace
  • The level of usage of social media in the workplace
  • The perception of social media's value in business

How Are We Defining Social Media?

For the purposes of the survey we are defining social media as all web-based one-to-many social connections such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Blogs, Discussion Boards, Digg, Delicious, YouTube etc, but excluding email and SMS.

When Will The Result Be Published?

I'll be tweeting about the progress and hope to have sufficient responses by early Jan to be able to release the results early in the New Year. How fast we can publish depends in part on how well we all do in getting the survey into the hands of multiple people. I'll be posting details from the survey in this blog.

If you would like to follow tweets on this survey I'll be using the following Twitter tag: #socialsurvey

Putting Your Ideas Into Action

One of the best things about social media is that so many people are willing to share ideas. As part of this project, if you have an idea on how we can spread the word simply post your comments here. We'll action as many ideas as we can.

To Learn More About Social Media

There are many useful blogs on the Internet to help you learn more about social media; here are just a few:

Useful Research From Forrester Analysts (access restrictions apply)

 

 

Thank you,
Nigel Fenwick
 - follow me on Twitter @NigelFenwick
Forrester Research

Comments

re: Can Social Media Penetrate The Exec Suite?

Nigel, I'm not sure you can expect naysayers to take this survey, so how do you want to prove you can reach them through social media?Executives do not spend time browsing the social web. To save them time they have direct reports and assistants filtering what's supposedly good for them to know. They have PR or internal communication staff writing external addresses or internal memos that will be sent in their names.The key question is how social media is going to disintermediate all these people to connect directly CEOs with their employees or customers?Fortunately some famous movie actors seem having been quicker in understanding the full value of it. Taking examples of twitter accounts like @mrskutcher (Demi Moore) or @BrentSpinner may help getting the point into corner offices.

re: Can Social Media Penetrate The Exec Suite?

Frederic,You make an interesting point and one which I’m hoping to explore. By asking people to share links to this survey via email I’m hoping we can indeed reach the C-Suite even though the initial distribution of the survey has been entirely through social media.Just because social media supports and enables the social networks we have, and influences how we communicate within them, doesn’t mean it is the exclusive method of communication.One of the things we are testing is how social media communications also spread outside of traditional social media technologies. We are getting this perspective by looking at how many respondents received the link through email.ThanksNigel