According to a new survey on business applications of social media, blogging is not old news, but actually looks set for a bright future.

comingchangeAlthough it suits some commentators to proclaim the demise of blogging, Josh Gordon in his report The Coming Change in Social Media Business Applications, says that blogging is shaping up, along with LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, as an increasingly relevant social media tool, indeed perhaps the most relevant such tool for business.

While Twitter and Facebook get the headlines, the social form organizations are turning to most as they look to the future is blogging. Some consider blogging “old” social media, but it has proven itself an effective communication tool. The ability to reach a mass audience with a personal point of view and invite comments is very powerful. (emphasis added)

The report’s broad argument, based on the survey results, is that there is a shift underway in how businesses use social media, from being “a general communications tool, mostly for public relations and marketing” to being seen more as an “essential tool for customer engagement”.

The survey looks at:

  • An overview of current and intended uses of social media
  • Business uses of Twitter
  • Business use of networks “like Facebook and LinkedIn”

The report presents a range of data, generously illustrated with charts, pointing up the overall finding of a move to use social media more for connecting with customers (including customer communications) and prospecting.

One finding which I found particularly interesting was from a comparison of social media between small and large companies. The study found measurably a stronger pattern of use by smaller companies:

“The smaller the company, the more frequently social media is used to improve external communications.”

Companies with 10 or fewer employees are 30% more likely to use social media for public relations, branding and understanding customers. And they are twice as likely as large companies to use social media for lead generation.

There is at least one practical reason for the difference of emphasis. Smaller companies often or always have to do more with less, so “…smaller companies can make big inroads by focusing more on social media” (than, say, on advertising).

Larger organisations use social media more frequently for internal communications and collaboration than do smaller companies.

Interestingly, companies surveyed are more encouraging than discouraging of social media use by employees. 28% have a formal policy for blogging.

The most used social media platforms in the survey group are LinkedIn 79.3%, Facebook 77.2%, Twitter  75.3%, and blogging 68% (MySpace is used by only 17.2%).

The study is based on a survey conducted with members and visitors of the Social Media Today online community, actively involved professionally in social media.  That looks to me like a fairly specialized, “insider” group and while I found the results fascinating, I would be interested to know how the findings would relate to a wider catchment of companies “in the wild”.

You can download the report – no charge, no sign-in, from the sidebar link at Social Media Today.

I’d be interested to know whether you, dear reader, would agree from your experience, reading or research that there is a resurgence, or at least a continued use, of blogging in the business context?

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Des Walsh is an executive coach. He helps business owners and entrepreneurs worldwide deal effectively with the feeling of being left behind or overwhelmed, or both, about social media – especially LinkedIn - and how to engage safely and effectively with social media to help grow their business. Connect with Des on LinkedIn, Google+ and Twitter. And to stay in the loop, get Des’s weekly Social Business Bites (select snippets of his "best of the week" online finds).