Marketers ignorant of how social media works

LONDON - Two-thirds of marketing experts admit they do not understand social media despite acknowledging it is here to stay, according to a survey.

The Social Media survey of marketing professionals by McCann Erickson Bristol found that 86% of them thought social media is more than just a fad.

However, 65.6% of them said they did not know how to use it for the purposes of marketing.

Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn remain the most popular social networking sites for marketers, with 72.8%, 42.4% and 40.2% having a presence on them respectively.

Around half of those surveyed said their IT departments blocked access to popular social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook -- effectively stopping marketers monitoring what is happening with their brands.

Just over half of UK businesses using social media used them for profile raising or PR, followed by 48% for networking and 30% for advertising.

Joanna Randall head of PR at McCann Erickson Bristol, said: "This study highlights that some of the UK's major businesses are ignoring social media channels -- but they do so at their peril.

"Word of mouth is now more powerful than ever -- opinions can be shared with a global audience at the click of a button.

"We all have the ability to influence, both positively and negatively, and therefore as marketing professionals we should be considering how best to harness the power of social media."

McCann Erickson UK Social Media in Marketing Survey 2009