Realities of the digital landscape illustrated in Eurocom survey

One of the startling metrics in a global survey on how technology businesses use social media is one that shows one in five technology industry executives  – that’s 20 percent of those surveyed – saying that a job candidate’s social media profile has caused them not to hire that person.

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This metric reinforces the reality shown in surveys conducted by others of the attitudes and actions of recruiters – individuals who make hiring decisions – in a society in which behaviour norms and standards are rapidly evolving and where, it seems, anything goes online as well as offline, yet collides with the different practices and expectations in many workplaces, especially between different generations.

Commenting on the findings in the survey conducted by the Eurocom Worldwide PR network in association with its member agencies around the world, and published last week, Eurocom’s Mads Christensen says that every action leaves an indelible digital trail:

[...] In the years ahead many of us will be challenged by what we are making public in various social forums today. The fact that one in five applicants disqualify themselves from an interview because of content in the social media sphere is a warning to job seekers and a true indicator of the digital reality we now live in.

Eurocom says that their previous surveys show nearly 40 percent of respondents’ companies check out potential employees’ profiles on social media sites, but this is the first evidence that candidates are actually being rejected because of them.

The Eurocom survey illustrates other realities of our evolving digital landscape:

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  • Nearly half (49 percent) of technology executives say that their firms will increase their expenditure on social media in the next twelve months.
  • But more than half (57 percent) say they are unable to accurately measure the impact of their investment.
  • Only 23 percent say they can measure it.

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  • The most popular social media platform for technology companies is LinkedIn(74 percent).
  • 67 percent of technology firms user Twitter.
  • 64 percent have a Facebookpresence.
  • 56 percent are on YouTube.
  • Only half of respondents surveyed say that their company has a formal process for listening to what is said about them in social media.

The Eurocom survey includes other useful findings:

[...] Respondents to the survey were also asked about the primary source of social media content and messaging for their company. The majority (78%) cite in-house sources with PR agencies the second most important source at 12%. Digital marketing agencies and advertising agencies combined account for the remaining 10%.

Of those respondents who work in companies that publish a blog, 57% say that it is done in order to raise profile or create thought leadership . Nearly as many (55%) state that the blogging aims to improve interaction with customers, while 37% say the aim is to boost SEO and 36% say it is to participate in industry debates.

According to the responses, the main reason for not blogging is that it is ‘too time consuming’ cited by 42% of those who don’t blog. One in five doesn’t see the value of it while 14% fear a negative response.

What all of this suggests to me is that while use of social media is widespread among tech firms, some specifics are missing from the execution – notably, listening and measurement – which dents the overall effectiveness of such use.

Imagine, for instance, how the results of listening might change fear of a negative response to a post on a corporate blog to positive expectation of stimulating discussion, where different views can co-exist with better understanding of those views and the people who hold them.

Or how accurate measurement of the results of social media use can help determine whether increasing budgets is a good idea (or not), and in which areas the budgets should be focused.

Much work still to be done.

Full details of the survey findings are in Eurocom’s press release which includes a nicely-done infographic from which the three images above are sliced.

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