Study: Use of Social Media in Public Relations Campaigns Growing

To view the Social Media Release, click here: http://smr.newswire.ca/en/cnw/study-use-of-social-media-in-public-relations-campaigns

TORONTO, June 7, 2011 /PRNewswire/ - The results of the Social Media Reality Check 2.0 survey are clear: public relations practitioners continue to find value in using social media, as consumer use of social networking tools grows.

In 2009, CNW and Leger Marketing conducted the first Social Media Reality Check, a unique study that explored professional communicators' use of social media compared with consumer opinions about social media influence on their purchasing behavior. Now, two years later, the Social Media Reality Check 2.0 has revealed insight into how social media use has grown; campaign objectives and measurement, as well as gaps and overlaps in PR practitioner perception and the consumer reported reality.

"Social media continues to be one of the most quickly evolving areas of the public relations profession; not to mention a hot topic of discussion both online and off," said Laurie Smith, Vice President, Culture and Communications at CNW. "Two years is a long time in the online world and much has changed. We are very excited to partner again with Leger Marketing to re-examine the results of the 2009 Social Media Reality Check and see what's new."

Twitter use continues to grow

There's no denying the impact of Twitter on the social media scene in the past two years. In 2009, only 39% of communications professionals reported using Twitter in their professional life. In 2011, Twitter usage has jumped to 76% among this group. Their audience, however, is only using Twitter 32% of the time.  While this is still significantly less, it highlights a 300% growth in the past two years, up from 8% in 2009.

The practitioner/audience gap is closing

While Facebook and YouTube are still the top two go-to sites for users, others that have surged in usage (besides Twitter) since the 2009 study include Wikipedia, Skype and LinkedIn. And it seems that communication professionals are now in tune with consumer users - in 2009 there was a disconnect between these two groups when it came to top site usage. Now practitioners are also using LinkedIn and Skype significantly more.

The influence of social media on consumers

Despite only half of respondents stating that online reviews influence their purchasing behavior, 37% of consumers say that they have purchased a product they heard about on social media first. Consumers agree that social media influences smaller purchasing decisions such as which books to read and music to buy.

Rising social media budgets

The number of organizations that have a budget devoted to social media have doubled since 2009 (from 15% to 30%), and 32% of professionals surveyed this year say they have a dedicated social media team in place.

Objectives remain informal

Awareness (66%) and generating dialogue (59%) were the top objectives for social media campaigns in 2009. This year, visibility (73%) and awareness (70%) top the list. However, campaign objectives remain largely informal with little change vs. 2009 (26% vs. 31% respectively saying that they have formal, measurable objectives in place).

"The results of the Social Media Reality Check 2.0 survey revealed some interesting trends and changes over the last two years," said Dave Scholz, Vice President and General Manager of Leger's Toronto office. "Keeping the pulse on audiences' changing uses of social media will give PR practitioners valuable information that may be useful in designing social media campaigns in the future."

This year, the scope of the survey was expanded to include US PR practitioners and consumers, as well as investor relations professionals and institutional investors.

More results from the Social Media Reality Check 2.0 will be presented at the Canadian Public Relations Society Annual Conference on Tuesday, June 7. Laurie Smithand Dave Scholz will share the Canadian results of the 2011 survey and what it all means for public relations practitioners.

To join the ongoing conversation on the Social Media Reality Check, visit Beyond the Wire at http://blog.newswire.ca.

To request a copy of the full report, contact Amanda Laird at amanda.laird@newswire.ca.

This survey was conducted among 1,039 users of social media and 590practitioners. With a sample of this size, results of the user study can beconsidered accurate to within +/-3.04% and results of the practitioners can beconsidered accurate to within +/-4.03% at the 95% confidence level, 19 times out of 20.

About CNW Group

CNW connects organizations to relevant news audiences through integrated, intelligent communications and disclosure services. CNW offers newswire distribution, social media releases, webcast, video, photography, translation, regulatory filing services and MediaVantage, a web-based media monitoring application, communications and workflow solutions. CNW has been an industry leader since 1960.

www.newswire.ca | blog.newswire.ca

About Leger Marketing

Leger Marketing is the largest Canadian-owned research firm, specializing in communications research. Established in 1986, Leger Marketing provides accurate data and insights with quality service to clients across Canada, the US and the world. In partnership with Leger's academic advisors, business

advisory boards, and global partners, Leger Marketing brings recognized expertise and knowledge to leading communications firms and corporate clients. Learn more at: http://legermarketing.com/.

/NOTE TO EDITORS: Media Assets accompanying this story are available as follows:

Photo:  http://smr.newswire.ca/media/articles/1354/laurie-img5700-5x7-300pdi.jpg

http://smr.newswire.ca/media/articles/1354/dave-scholz.jpg

SOURCE CNW Group Ltd.



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