CEOs predict use of social media to grow substantially within the next five years, according to an IBM CEO survey, Leading Through Connections, Global Chief Executive Office Study.
Social media growth is expected to rise 256% in three to five years, while traditional media is expected to decline by 61%.
According to a similar survey conducted by University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth, in the past year, Fortune 500 businesses have increased their adoption of blogging by 5%, use of Twitter for corporate communications by 11%, and use of Facebook pages by 8%. A growing percentage – 62% – have YouTube accounts and 11 companies (2%) are posting on Pinterest. In total, 139 companies (28%) had corporate, public-facing blogs, the highest number in the study’s four-year history.
In the IBM survey, views on social media vary widely across industries. A higher percentage of CEOs in education (77%), telecommunications, (73%) and retail (72%) expect social media to be a key channel for customer engagement. In industrial products, only 34% of CEOs believe social media will play a significant role—the lowest of all industries; insurance (51%) and electronics (52%) are below the overall average.
These percentages mirror the results of the UMass-Dartmouth report, which found that telecommunications corporations led the field in social media, with 40% of companies blogging, 80% on Twitter and 80% on Facebook. Verizon Communications increased Twitter activity 69% from 2011 to 2012.
Not only is social media being considered as a way to reach customers, but also employees. The IBM study suggests that CEOs are seeing social media as a “re-imagined suggestion box.” Through social media technologies, employees can reach out to provide feedback, create dialogue with executives, and generate ideas from within the organization.
New York-based Excelsior College offers an MBA with a concentration in social media management. The MBA program requires between 33 and 48 credits, depending upon the student’s prior learning. Students may transfer in up to 24 approved credits. Excelsior College’s School of Business and Technology is accredited by the International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education (IACBE), which is an accrediting agency recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. Excelsior College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
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Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) also offers an online MBA with a concentration in social media marketing. The completely online program has 18- and 24-month options. Southern New Hampshire University’s business programs are accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP). SNHU is regionally accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.
–Alanna Stage, @AlannaTweets