Investment in social media is fading, report reveals

The popularity of social media channels as a tool to engage with employees is waning, according to a survey of over 500 Internal Communications (IC) professionals.

The fifth annual Inside Insight market survey – carried out by the global recruitment specialist for corporate and marketing communications, VMA Group – found that less than half (43%) felt that social media is the future of IC.

The report further revealed that there are still a worrying number of companies half-heartedly entering the digital world, with 70% rating their businesses use of social media and online communications as poor or average.

Andrew Harvey, Director of Internal Communications Practice, VMA Group, comments:

“Social media is a fantastic tool when it comes to engaging with staff and encouraging two-way conversations. However it seems that the initial excitement around these channels is beginning to fade. This, coupled with an increasing level of caution exhibited by many employers, is causing investment of time and money into these platforms to decrease. This simply can’t continue. The target audience will be active on social media regardless of their employers’ wishes, so it’s vital that internal comms teams continue the fight to get the backing of the board for a more robust online IC strategy.”

Survey respondent, Kathleen Aiken Rojas, Head of Corporate & Functions Communications at BP, adds:

“Being social is human nature. Why are so many corporations threatened by social behaviour and social media? We just need the courage to trust people inside the company to create, discover, consume and share ideas in ways that are natural to them.”

These findings resonate with the growing realisation that although Social Media is omnipotent, businesses don’t necessarily have to be.  There are hundreds of Social Media platforms out there; and whether your motivation is marketing or IC, the key to success is not posting relentlessly – rather it is to post the right content, on the right platform, in the right manner, where your target audience is congregating (in digital terms).

2016 will most certainly be the year where businesses claw-back some valuable time from relentless posting to empty arenas – and re-discover the value of smart, targeted marketing…including the re-dawn of simply pressing the flesh.

Social Media is far from being a beast in its final death throes, yet only the strongest (most relevant) platforms will survive.  Choose your outlets wisely.

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