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Study: Companies more likely to use social media to show their brand

By Mario Cywinski |

Social media in an ever-increasing way of bring a company's brand to the public; many Canadian executives are placing more importance on using it, according to a new study.

Nearly one in three executives (31 per cent) believe that social media plays a major role in engaging the public about their brand, according to a new SAS/Leger Marketing survey. One in six (16 per cent) believe it is the most important way to engage the public, while 43 per cent say it plays limited role and 10 per cent don't use social media.

"Consumers are now, more than ever, keeping a close eye on our brands as they continue to engage with social media channels at unprecedented rates," said Lori Bieda, SAS Consultant and former Marketing Executive. "With corporate trust at the lowest it's been in several years, consumers are relying on social media and their social networks to shape their buying decisions, making social media a powerful medium that businesses can't ignore."

Breaking down usage of social media for business by province, we see the following think it is most important means of communicating with the public:

  • Alberta (20 per cent);
  • Ontario (19 per cent);
  • Quebec (15 per cent);
  • Atlantic Canada (six per cent).

Usage of social media is greater in the public sector than in private, 21 per cent to 14. The industry, which believes social media, is most important way of communicating with public is the finance and banking industry (28 per cent), followed by advertising, media and communication industry at 21 per cent.

"Our research has found that the public sector has some of the most aggressive social media strategies of any market segment," said Tim Hickernell, Lead Research Analyst, Info-Tech Research Group. "Social networks are the new citizen meeting places, where government can quickly survey the needs of the citizenry. Social channels are also proving to be extremely effective for government outreach and education, because social sharing spreads the desired messages much further than traditional media channels."

However, not all is rosy for social media, as 10 per cent of executives feel it is a waste of time. That number increases to 12 per cent for the public sector alone. Nine per cent of Canadian executives feel social media is a ‘passing fancy’ that will be done in a few years, 14 per cent of Ontario feels feel this way.

Other findings:

  • 60 per cent of executives say their company monitors social media for mentions about their business, 20 per cent rarely so and 12 per cent never do;
  • 12 per cent of public sector executives say people who use social media options don’t matter as they are a vocal minority, six per cent of private sector executives feel the same;
  • 50 per cent of executives say they do not have the resources to monitor social media.

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