How far will businesses go to improve their social media program and public relations? Some are willing to spend a small fortune hiring employees to represent them through social media. As technology and the internet continues to grow, opportunities to reach out to customers and interested groups has also grown. However some businesses are still stuck evaluating the benefits versus the costs. (Image credit: Flickr)
According to data from a study by ragan.com and the infographic below, up to 27 percent of all organizations have a dedicated social media department. Roughly 65 percent of all profit and nonprofit bodies have employees dedicate at least some time to representing them on-line. This can range from maintaining a Facebook page to having an active Tumblr account and routinely posting articles.
About 22 percent of organizations intend to hire more people for a social media program, while the remaining 78 percent do not intend to. This reflects uncertainty over the strategy, which does not make dollars and cents sensibility to some people. On the bright side, the same companies see little difference between five years of experience and nine years of experience, with only 9 percent hiring overly experienced PR professionals. Since technology is a rapidly changing industry, it pays to bring in fresh talent.
Full time employees can expect to spend a great deal of time noting comments and contacting people who leave questions. Staying in touch with thousands of followers is considered a worthwhile endeavor by at least some companies, and they have the cash to spend on Public Relations and a social media program.
While PR has traditionally been seen as the domain of live speakers and press release writers, the Internet has added a new dimension. More people prefer the Web as their primary source of information, and social media creates many opportunities to both post articles and directly answer questions.
Different organizations have different needs or hire people according to a wide range of criterion. Experience is the most highly valued attribute, while simply having an education no longer seems to hold enough clout. When forced to choose between degrees; companies prefer communications, public relations, marketing, and journalism majors for their social media program.
In spite of all the education and talent floating around, only about 5 percent of groups claim they are satisfied with their social media program. It seems therefore to be a program that is still trying to justify its economic value. Companies are still spending money on web PR, because they are afraid they might fall behind advancing technology, however having business objectives as part of structuring social media programs will go some way in providing a justifiable return on investment.
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