Social Media as PR Device Comes of Age in 2011: Report

Social media, measurement and strategic communications planning are
top of the list as areas of focus, according to 508 respondents in
survey results Vocus and research partner Deirdre Breakenridge released
Dec. 8 titled, Social Media Comes of Age: The Vocus 2011 Planning
Survey.

A summary of the findings from the survey indicated PR would be more
challenging in 2011. Sixty percent of respondents said PR would be more
challenging in 2010. The dynamics of social media and budgets were
among the top reasons why. Survey results indicated budgets are
expected to improve over 2010. Forty-two percent said they expect
budgets to “increase somewhat” or “increase significantly” versus 29
percent that said the same last year. In addition, 20 percent said
budgets would “decrease somewhat” or “decrease significantly” versus 29
percent that said the same last year. Search professionals and
advertisers were the most optimistic about budgets.

Vocus research also suggested PR and marketing are playing nicer in the
social media sandbox. Twenty-three percent of respondents said
marketing is leading social media efforts while PR is contributing,
while 22 percent of respondents said PR is leading social media efforts
with several other departments contributing. These two categories
received the highest rankings among six options. There were also high
marks for social media maturity on self-evaluation. Organizations
overwhelmingly gave themselves high marks for social media maturity,
with 67 percent saying they are participating, sharing and contributing
to social conversations.

“Social media will be important for two reasons. First, because
organizations have found through monitoring that social conversations
will occur with or without their participation,” said Breakenridge.
“Second, organizations found small victories through experimentation
this year and will focus on improving those results next year.”

Vocus surveyed 508 professionals from Oct. 26 to Nov. 21 to find out.
While about half of the respondents were PR
professionals, the rest were comprised of a mix, including social media
specialists, advertisers and search marketing professionals. “Survey
respondents were predominantly from the United States, fairly senior in
experience and more than half most closely identify their role as
public relations,” Vocus research documents noted. “Thirty-five percent
of respondents work for corporations while 29 percent work for
agencies–these two groups accounted for 325 of the 508 total
respondents.”

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