Last month, we ran a quick survey about how you are using social media in product marketing and management. The goal was not to develop a comprehensive picture of this broad topic, but to recognize some trends and validate some areas that we have heard out in the field. Over 130 of you responded to the quick, nine question survey, and the results are now in. Keep in mind that this isn’t scientific!
How often are you using social media? Not surprisingly, product professionals who answered this survey are prolific users. Nearly 90% said that they use social media “Daily” or “Often” to keep current on issues. Interestingly, non-work related usage scores lower on all counts.
Since we know that product professionals are making use of social media, the natural follow-up question is: which ones are they using?
This is a really interesting chart. As usual, there are the Big 3: Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. But amongst product professionals, LinkedIn edges out even Facebook! This correlates with the finding above that product professionals are using it more for work-related items; they probably aren’t going to friend their customers or competitors on Facebook. Even at a fraction of the size and reach of Facebook, LinkedIn’s focused ability to reach into professionals and customers drives the highest usage. Google+ also rated highly, considering its relative reach compared to the other networks.
How do product professionals actually put social media to use? Obviously, Thought Leadership activities came out on top: driving traffic to your blogs, websites, whitepapers, and landing pages is a huge priority. Live event support was a little surprising as number two – product pros are tweeting to connect with customers and partners and keep up the engagement at tradeshows and events. Competitive research also scored highly.
Most product professionals still take what they get from social channels with some skepticism. About 30% said that they rated the information they receive from these channels as “Mediocre” or “Poor.”
With social media becoming ubiquitious, you might think that all companies have a defined social media policy. You’d be wrong! 25% of respondants indicated that they don’t have any kind of defined policy for how to use (or not use) social media. About half have a policy in place that is liberal enough that they feel free to post whatever they want.
When it comes to having a clear owner of social media efforts in the company, Marketing has taken on this role. In fact, Marketing outsourced all the other options combined.
One of the biggest challenges of social media is interacting with a customer who is upset and complaining about your product or service online. With Twitter, Facebook and other channels, these customers have a huge bullhorn to create brand damage if they aren’t handled appropriately. On the other hand, companies that have mastered how to use these channels effectively are creating loyal customers who reinforce their brand and spread stories about how good the company was to them.
For this question, we posed a scenario: what would you do if someone was actively complianing about your product on social media? Almost 40% said that in this case, they’d follow a set policy. 35% would respond directly, indicating that there is still a lot of personal ownership of social media efforts at most companies. What would happen if your “social person” leaves tomorrow?
Next, we flipped it around – how would you react if someone was actively praising your product? More people ignore these, but do we risk appearing tone deaf if our customers tell us we’re doing a great job and we react with silence?
Last, we were interested in how product professionals measure their social media efforts. At Pragmatic Marketing, we are big believers in the mantra that everything needs to be measured, especially in Marketing. Unfortunately, over half of respondents are not measuring their social efforts today. 15% are still trying to figure out what their measurements need to be, and 9% measure by number of generated leads. Social media is reaching an inflection point: very soon it will cross the chasm from the shiny-object stage of “ohmygosh we’ve got to do this social media thing!” to “What’s my ROI” stage. Social efforts that can’t demonstrate positive ROI will be the first things to be cut.
We hope that you found this information interesting and helpful. If you’d like to help us construct a more complete profile of product professionals, please fill out our 2012 Annual Product Management and Marketing survey.
If you are interested in attending a Pragmatic Marketing seminar that I will be teaching, you will find me in Orlando from Dec 7-9 and Vancouver, BC from Dec 13-15 teaching Practical Product Management and Requirements that Work. I hope to see you there!