December 2011
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TD Magazine

The State of Social Media in the Workplace: Uses and Measurement

Seventy-two percent of U.S. organizations are actively engaged in social recruiting initiatives, according to SelectMinds's "ROI of Social Media in the Enterprise: A Benchmarking Survey." For the 86 percent of firms that report social media adoption, recruitment and talent acquisition is the number one way these companies use platforms such as LinkedIn and Facebook. However, when the survey asked how effective social media has been at achieving 11 objectives, respondents rated "finding candidates to hire" lowest, with only 44 percent believing that social media was beneficial for this purpose.

Additional uses of social media include branding-engagement and awareness (69 percent), recruitment branding (68 percent), and marketing (63 percent). Respondents reported social media to be most effective as a communications platform (60 percent), to improve brand awareness (57 percent), and to increase the effectiveness of marketing (55 percent).


As far as social media's business impact, the survey notes that while 69 percent of companies plan to increase their social media budgets next year, most fail to adequately capture the initiatives return-on-investment. The majority measure ROI with "easy-to-count" metrics, such as number of hires from social networks (66 percent), number of website visitors (65 percent), and number of Facebook fans (63 percent). Only 27 percent of respondents measure reduced expenses, 10 percent measure increased revenue, and a mere 5 percent say they are "very confident" that they are accurately measuring the ROI of their social media initiatives.

"Corporations are beyond the leap-of-faith stage with their social media programs: They have them up and running and they know they are producing results," says Anne Berkowitch, CEO of SelectMinds. "The key now is to build the infrastructure necessary for firms to systematize their social media programs to produce real, measurable ROI."

More companies are moving beyond the limits of the top three most-used networks—Facebook (86 percent), LinkedIn (82 percent), and Twitter (71 percent) and adopting corporate social networks. Sixty-three percent of companies report using a corporate social network as a platform for current employees, 40 percent as a tool for recruiting candidates, and 33 percent as a community for alumni.


About the Author

The Association for Talent Development (ATD) is a professional membership organization supporting those who develop the knowledge and skills of employees in organizations around the world. The ATD Staff, along with a worldwide network of volunteers work to empower professionals to develop talent in the workplace.

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