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Not surprisingly, more businesses are leveraging the wide popularity of social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to promote their companies, according to a new survey by jobs site CareerBuilder.
Bigger companies and enterprises seem to have embraced social media more than smaller ones, judging by the survey results. For example, 29 percent of organizations with fewer than 500 employees said they use social media to promote their companies, while that percentage jumps to 38 and 44 percent for companies with 501-1,000 and more than 1,000 employees, respectively.
A further breakout of the survey results by sector shows that 48 percent of IT industry respondents said they use social media to promote their business.
Rounding out the top four were retail (43 percent) and sales (41 percent).
Clara Shih, author of The Facebook Era, said CareerBuilder's survey probably doesn't fully reflect how companies are using social media since the survey appears to have focused heavily on hiring managers who might not have total visibility into their company's efforts.
"In a survey we [Hearsay Inc.] conducted in partnership with Gerson Lehrman Group last month and in similar research by Forrester and Nielsen, we found that in fact over half of U.S. businesses are using social media," Shih told InternetNews.com.
"Organizations should keep in mind that even if they have not officially sanctioned or invested in a social media presence, chances are their customers and employees are already engaging in dialogue about their brand, industry and competitors," Shih added in an email. "It is becoming critically important to monitor what's being said, even if you choose not to proactively push out content and messaging."
Of those 35 percent of employers in the CareerBuilder survey who said they are using social media, only 25 percent said they are using it to connect with clients and find new business, while 21 percent said they use social media to recruit and research potential new hires. Only 13 percent said they use social media to strengthen their employment brand.
"As communication via social media becomes increasingly pervasive, organizations are harnessing these sites to help achieve a variety of business goals," Jason Ferrara, vice president of corporate marketing for CareerBuilder, said in a statement. "Social media allows organizations to communicate in ways that didn't exist ten years ago, promoting their services and brands while also supplementing their recruitment strategy."
The marketing department was cited by 43 percent of employers in the survey as being primarily responsible for managing their company's social media strategy, followed by public relations (26 percent) and human resources (19 percent) departments.
In an indication that the responsibility for social media strategies and implementation isn't well established at many companies, 57 percent of the employers surveyed said they didn't know how many people were involved in their company's social media efforts.
A quarter (25 percent) of those in the survey said responsibility falls to between one and three people and 11 percent said more than six people handle social media communications for their company.