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    Brands Finding Barriers to Social Networking

    Many large brands are still struggling to become part of the social networking universe, according to a new study by Cleveland, Ohio-based WorkPlace Media.

    Many large brands are still struggling to become part of the social networking universe, according to a new study by Cleveland, Ohio-based WorkPlace Media.

    The study, which polled office Internet users, found that 55 percent maintained at least one social networking account (Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.), but of those respondents, just 43 said they accessed those accounts at work, and even for those with access, 78 percent said they spent under 30 minutes a on their site(s).

    Moreover, the overall effect of a brand’s presence on social networking sites was shown to be minimal in terms of impact and perception. Ninety-six percent of respondents said their opinion of a product brand didn’t change if that brand had no presence on a social networking site, while only 11 percent of social networking users said they followed any major brand through a social networking site, and just 12 percent said their opinion of a brand changes if that brand maintains a social networking presence.

    “When it comes to influencing brand perception and purchase decisions, the data shows that social networking still has a long way to go,” said Stephanie Molnar, CEO of WorkPlace Media, a marketing solutions firm specializing in targeting people at work. “Most of our meaningful recommendations continue to be old-fashioned, word-of-mouth recommendations from friends, co-workers, and/or family.”

    Additional findings from the WorkPlace Media survey:

    --89% percent of respondents have a Facebook account, as opposed to 40 percent on MySpace, 31 percent on LinkedIn and 18 percent on Twitter. When asked what appeals about social networking, the top response, cited by 89 percent of respondents, was that it “allows me to stay connected to friends/family.”

    --Of the 18 percent who said they acted on a business or product recommendation received through social networking sites, the leading categories were entertainment (53 percent), dining out (50 percent), groceries (23 percent), beauty care/cosmetics (21 percent), apparel (20 percent), electronics (15 percent) and pet care (15 percent).

    The Brand Impact Social Networking Survey was conducted by WorkPlace Media in May 2009 among 753 American workers with access to the Internet at work. For more information, visit www.workplacemedia.com and click on “Complimentary Research.”

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