Study Reveals How Social Media Impacts Businesses

Businesses that integrate social technologies such as blogs, video sharing, microblogging, and social networking can boost their financial performance and market share, according to a recent survey from McKinsey & Co. Although integrating these technologies can improve companies’ performance, gains are difficult to maintain because of organizational barriers and the effort required to maintain those gains.

McKinsey categorized survey respondents according to their level of social technology implementation. The least networked businesses reported lower-than-average improvements across all their interactions, while fully networked businesses reported greater benefits from both internal interaction and external interactions with customers and partners or suppliers.

By industry, technology and communication companies lead the way with 86 percent reporting the use of at least one social technology tool. The least active industry in social technology is the energy sector, with 62 percent of surveyed companies reporting the use of one tool.

Regardless of industry and level of implementation, most companies use social technologies to scan the external environment. “Social networking and blogs, in particular, are used most heavily in externally focused processes that gather competitive intelligence and support marketing efforts,” according to the report.

Many respondents expect the current social technology constraints they face, particularly workplace cultural obstacles, will lessens over the next three to five years. As a result, the boundaries between employees, customers, and vendors will blur. Lifting these constraints will also make it easier for workplace teams to organize themselves.