Social Networks Not Much of a Marketplace

July 24, 2009

A study, recently released by WorkPlace Media, outlines some of the hurdles facing major brands as they attempt to harness the worlds of Facebook, Twitter and MySpace, to create an impact with consumers.The study, which polled office Internet users, found that 55% maintained at least one social networking account. However, of those respondents, only 43% reported accessing their social networking accounts at work, and even for those with access, 78% reported spending less than 30 minutes per day on their site(s).

Time Spent on Social Networking Sites at Work (% of Respondents)

Time Spent % of Respondents
Less than 30 minutes


30 minutes


1 hour


Open all day


Source: WorkPlaceMedia, May 2009

The overall impact of a brand’s presence on social networking sites was shown to be minimal in terms of impact and perception. 96% of respondents said their opinion of a product brand did not change if that brand had no presence on a social networking site, and only 11% of social networking users reported following any major brand through a social networking site, and just 12% of respondents said their opinion of a brand changes if that brand maintains a social networking presence.

Social Networking Impact on Brand Perception (% of Respondents)

Activity Yes No
Follow a brand’s social network account



Opinion changes if brand has no presence on social media site



Opinion changes if brand has significant presence on social media site



Source: WorkPlaceMedia, May 2009

Product or Brand Recommendations From Social Networking Site (% of Respondents)

Activity Yes No
Recommended business/product via social network site



Received a business/product recommendation via social network site



Acted upon business/product recommendation from social network site



Source: WorkPlaceMedia, May 2009

Stephanie Molnar, CEO of WorkPlace Media, says “When it comes to influencing brand perception and purchase decisions… social networking… has a long way to go.”

A recent Harris poll also supported this assertion, says the report, showing that word of mouth is a much stronger influencer than social networking. When a group of adults were asked about their information-gathering process for the most recent purchase they made,

  • 21% of Harris poll respondents cited “face-to-face with a person not associated with the company, such as a family member, business colleague or friend.”
  • 12% cited a phone call with someone similar
  • 4% mentioned using “public online social-networking sites, such as Facebook, LinkedIn or MySpace”
  • 4% mentioned “private social networking sites, such as customer communities”

According to additional findings from the WorkPlace Media survey, Facebook was the clear winner in terms of users:

  • 89% of respondents reported having a Facebook account
  • 40% MySpace
  • 31% LinkedIn
  • 18% Twitter

When asked what appeals about social networking:

  • 89% said it “allows me to stay connected to friends/family.”

Of the 18% who reported acting upon a business or product recommendation from social networking sites, the leading categories were:

  • Entertainment (53%)
  • Dining Out (50%)
  • Groceries (23%)
  • Beauty Care/Cosmetics (21%)
  • Apparel (20%)
  • Electronics (15%)
  • Pet Care (15%)

For the complete release

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