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Social networking and media applications are becoming more popular among Australian businesses with more than 30 per cent already using an enterprise social media application and more than 30 per cent use public social networks in advertising instead of using an existing Web site, according to new research from independent emerging technology analyst firm Telsyte.

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SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – Social networking and media applications are becoming more popular among Australian businesses with more than 30 per cent already using an enterprise social media application and more than 30 per cent use public social networks in advertising instead of using an existing Web site, according to new research from independent emerging technology analyst firm Telsyte.

The use of social media in businesses is being driven by a number of factors – from the consumer use of public social media services to adoption of enterprise social media applications to facilitate internal collaboration to the use of social networks for company marketing programs.

Social media meets IT

While social media remains low on the CIO’s overall order of priorities, the uptake is strong with one-third of enterprises already using private, enterprise social networking software with more than 15 per cent looking to deploy an enterprise social network in the near future.

Enterprise social media applications can be deployed on-premise or as software-as-a-service (SaaS), however, the main difference between enterprise and public social media is the data in an enterprise application is only accessible to people inside the organization.

Telsyte senior analyst Rodney Gedda, says enterprise social networks are allowing Australian organisations to develop a culture of open communication in a controlled way and without the privacy concerns of public social networks.

“Public social networks have raised a massive amount of awareness among consumers of the power of group communication platforms and those principles are being applied within company teams,” Gedda says. “The options for enterprise social networking applications are healthy and businesses are spending real money on these applications which indicates a commitment to the concept of social media.”

Use of public social media services among business people is second only to e-mail among staff who bring-their-own-apps (BYOA) to the workplace either via the Web or with a mobile device.

Telsyte also examined the attitude of IT leaders towards public social media services and the tolerance rate is high despite some organisations using IT to ban their use by staff.

“Fewer than 25 per cent of enterprises block public social media access at the network level and the remainder are happy for staff to use Facebook and Twitter at work,” Gedda says. “This is consistent with the number of CIOs who view public social media as negative for the business. Most, however, view social media as positive.”

About a third of companies don’t have a social media policy at all and the remainder have policies ranging from personal use only to an education process on how public social media should be used in the workplace.

Telsyte also researched how public social media is being used by Australian enterprises and most of the time spent on them by staff is viewed as a “non-business focus”.

Social media marketing goes mainstream

Personal use of public social networks in business is commonplace, but a number of key business functions like marketing, customer interaction, sales offers and recruitment are finding their way onto Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

According to Telsyte’s research, more than a third of businesses are promoting their social media activities in corporate advertising, including links and icons of the social networks they use for marketing and Social media is also beginning to promote an online presence in advertising material with more than 30 per cent using public social networks in advertising instead of using an existing Web site.

“Companies that promote their online presence through Facebook and Twitter are connecting with a demographic known to spend a lot of their time online, but they need to tread carefully to ensure they don’t erode their own online channels in the process,” Gedda says.

The penetration of social media monitoring tools is also gaining significance with some 32 per cent of enterprises using tools to track their company mentions on social networks. SaaS vendors are also adding more services to integrate traditional applications with social media, particularly in the customer relations and brand management space. These applications can work across the contact centre, marketing and project management disciplines, for example.

“As with enterprise social networks, the budget for public social network activities, including staff to manage them, is now amounting to real dollars for Australian businesses,” Gedda says. “It’s now up to IT and marketing managers to justify a long-term ROI amid the white-hot excitement around social media.”

In the Telsyte Australian Enterprise Social Media Study 2012, Telsyte surveyed more than 800 CIOs and business leaders to determine their organisation’s social media usage profile and their intentions to use social media applications.

About the Telsyte Australian Enterprise Social Media Study 2012
The Telsyte Australian Enterprise Social Media Study 2012 is a comprehensive 65-page report which provides subscribers with key market insight across enterprise social network software provider market share; social media priorities; social media & bring your own apps (BYOA); enterprise social networks; public social media policy; public social network use; social media marketing; social media & recruitment; social media spending & services; social media monitoring and consumer trends.

About Telsyte’s Enterprise Social Media research
Telsyte’s mobility research covers the Australian mobility industry, with more than 20 companies considered including: Dialogix, Elgg, Facebook, Foursquare, Google, Jive, Kapow Software, LinkedIn, Media Monitors, Microsoft, Oracle/RightNow, PeerIndex, Radian6, Salesforce.com, Social Mention, SocialText, Status.Net (Laconica), Twazzup, Twitter, Trackur, Wildfire and Yammer.

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