The Impact of Social Media

Harvard Business Review Analytics Services has released a study on the impact of social media. Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, blogs etc. offers organizations the chance to join conversation with millions of customers around the globe every day.

But even though social media has great potential, many organizations do not properly integrate social media in their marketing and communication efforts, or only use it as a one-way communication channel instead of listening, analysing, and driving conversations.

The survey was conducted among HBR magazine and newsletter subscribers during July 2010. The participating organizations were mainly based in the US and in Asia.

These are some of the main results from the survey:

• Three-quarters (75%) of the companies in the survey said they did not know where their most valuable customers were talking about them.

• Nearly one-third (31%) do not measure effectiveness of social media.

• Less than one-quarter (23%) are using social media analytic tools.

• A fraction (7%) of participating companies are able to integrate social media into their marketing activities.

The following is the conclusion to the survey which in my opinion makes much sense.

HBR’s Conclusion:

“Social media is rapidly becoming a new force in organizations around the world, allowing them to reach out to and understand consumers as never before. In many companies, it will move from a ‘one-off initiative’ to be an important, integrated tool in marketing and communications strategies.

Use of social media will clearly expand in the coming years. Two-thirds of the companies in the survey predicted their use of social media would grow significantly over the next few years, as the awareness of the power of social media has grown in their companies. Among organizations that already have a budget for social media, spending was expected to increase by 30% or more over the next 12 months, even as overall dollars for marketing and advertising have dropped for many companies during the recession.

But as social media creates new opportunity, it also demands a shift in thinking about marketing and the measures of success. Those companies who are most effective in social media now are not only experimenting with multiple channels, but also creating metrics to measure impact and using new tools to understand how to enter into a new conversation with their customers. In the future, effective use of social media will be led by these organizations that are able to enter into this new relationship with customers, employees, and partners.”

You can download the whole report from HBR here.

Similar Posts:

Be Sociable, Share!

15 Responses to “The Impact of Social Media”

  1. […] The Impact of Social Media ( […]

  2. […] Review: […]

  3. Ben Bland says:

    I’m slightly disappointed after coming to the title of “The Impact of Social Media” as I hoped it would answer the big question of how effective social media have been and will be in the near future, as business, marketing, socialising and campaigning channels.

    The report tells the same story that has been around for a couple of years, that it’s all about making meaningful relationships, through conversation; and that not enough businesses are doing it in a committed way. Nevertheless it’s good to have the situation confirmed and updated by a reputable institution such as HBR. Perhaps in the next survey you can address social media’s impact on the world, or some view on the best tools and methods?

  4. This piece was shared with the Social Media in Organizations (SMinOrgs) Community by Constance Woodson. As Ben noted, it basically confirms what many people already know. Imagine how much more dramatic the results would be if the study had focused on the TRUE impact of social media, not just for external applications like marketing, but internal implications and applications as well.

    Courtney Hunt
    Founder, SMinOrgs Community

  5. Anne Herngaard says:

    Yes, it would be really interesting to know about any other surveys that have other or more wide ranging conclusions on the impact of social media. But I also think this survey has a point that can still be stressed as not all people or organisations realize the advantages or potentials of using social media.

    Here at Mindjumpers we are always on the lookout for interesting data, research or knowledge about social media from a business related point of view. So please let us know if you know of any other relevant surveys about social media.

  6. I regularly share research results through the SMinOrgs S.M.A.R.T. News Digest (click on “research” in the tag cloud on our website to access digests with relevant items). I’ve also written a number of thought pieces on social media and am developing a Social Media Primer ( One white paper in particular relates to this HBR report. It’s called “Trickle-Up Socialnomics: Leveraging Social Media in the BtoB Context” and can be accessed via Thanks.

  7. I think integrating social media into the modern business model is a necessity. 

    Adding social media to your website is more then just adding a ‘Like’ button to your website. We have developed a sophisticated strategy to integrate social media into your website. One thing I’ve started doing as a web developer is not just including the pre-fabed social media buttons everybody uses, but instead designing links to social media pages directly into the architecture of the website. Doing this as well as taking full advantage of the customization options provided by Facebook, twitter & youtube etc, gives a website visitor a consistent experince with your website & social media pages.


  8. This article is excellent for explain the impact factor of the social media, and this factor are growing up in the last times

  9. Henriette Stisen says:

    Thanks for reading our blog :) If you are interested in Social ROI, I recommend you to read our more recent article on the subject:

  10. […] result of globalization and the extent of the Internet, social media have blossomed and made a huge impact in our daily lives. With Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the like we are more connected than ever. […]

  11. Jonathan says:

    That’s incredible, I never knew 7% only integrated this!

Leave a Reply