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Social media duties are treated more as add-on job functions, and don’t often get a dedicated internal team, details a [download page] new Ragan/NASDAQ OMX Corporate Solutions survey. 65% of the survey respondents – the majority of whom hail from organizations that employ more than 100 people – said that social media tasks are assigned on top of current job responsibilities. 27% said they have an internal team that works exclusively on social media, while an additional 5% said they have both an internal department and use an outside agency or partner. Just 3% said they fully outsource all their social media efforts. That 3% figure reflects an apparent unwillingness to spend dollars – rather than time – on social media, a trend that was found by Reply! recently, in research examining SMB use of paid social media services.

The Ragan survey found that when it comes to tools used to measure social media, a 59% majority rely on free tools, while 35% use a combination of free and paid tools. Only 6% use only paid tools, the most popular of which are Hootsuite (31%), Radian6 (25%), and Vocus (17%). (Among free tools, Google Analytics and Google Alerts both easily lead all others.)

For Hiring, Experience and a Degree Count

When it comes to hiring people to work on social media, a plurality of respondents (45%) look at the applicant’s combination of experience and degree, although less than 1% look at degree alone. Writing skills (18%) are also important, far more so than a business background (3%).

As for the types of degrees that are most valued? Communications (77%) and public relations (76%) get the nod over marketing (65%), with journalism (42%) and advertising (28%) further behind. That marketing degrees aren’t more highly valued is somewhat surprising, given that a plurality (29%) of respondents say that those involved in social media report to marketing, and marketing is also the department most commonly involved in respondents’ social media efforts.

Most Post Several Times a Week, Aren’t Confident in Their Expertise

Further details from the report, “Structuring a Social Media Team,” suggest that respondents believe that frequent updates are a must on social media. 29% said they post at least once a day, including weekends, while another 29% report that they post at least once a day during the week. All told, 8 in 10 post on a social media site more than once a week. The most common types of online content created are Facebook posts (86%), Tweets (85%), images (65%), videos (64%), and blogs (61%).

Despite their commitment to frequently using social media, 70% of respondents find it challenging to keep up with new tools and platforms. 52% say they keep their heads above water, but barely, while 18% say they find it overwhelming, and do a poor job. That might explain why almost two-thirds describe their social media efforts as intermediate, in that they use social media regularly but have more to learn and accomplish. Just 13% are fully confident, describing themselves as advanced.

Other Findings:

  • Only 1 in 5 respondents plan to hire more people to help with social media next year. 28% increased their overall social media budgets this year, while most kept them constant.
  • About one-quarter aren’t satisfied with how they measure social media, although a plurality (42%) are only somewhat satisfied. The most common metrics used are interaction/engagement (86%), web traffic (74%), and brand reputation (58%).
  • Lack of time (65%) and lack of manpower (63%) are the chief roadblocks to social media measurement.
  • About 8 in 10 say their C-suite supports social media.

About the Data: The Ragan/NASDAQ OMX Corporate Solutions data is based on a survey of more than 2,700 social media professionals.

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