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The benefits of using Web 2.0 tools: a view from the corporation

Posted by at Sep 04, 2009 05:28 PM CDT
Categories: Nonprofit Trends, Productivity, Research, Social Media

BenefitsI know, I know, non-profit organizations are not corporations, but everyday I see someone saying that we can learn from trends in the corporate world. So here goes with the big statement. Drum roll.

According to an annual survey conducted by McKinsey & Co., corporations are seeing benefits from adopting web 2.0 technologies, in myriad ways. They are seeing “measurable business benefits, including more innovative products and services, more effective marketing, better access to knowledge, lower cost of doing business, and higher revenues.”

I’ve been reading this study dutifully for the last 3 years and watched how the attitudes of corporations have changed from something like “I’ll give it a try” to now saying “ we are seeing benefits both inside and out.”

One big standout for me was the statistic that claims 52% of respondents feel they have increased the effectiveness of their marketing using web 2.0 tools, with a median improvement over 200 of 25% in raising awareness, 17% in converting to buyers and 20% in generating loyalty.

There were internal benefits as well, with 68% citing an increased access to knowledge, up 30% from 2008, and 54% claiming reduced communications costs, up by 20% from 2008.

Another fact I find interesting is that there are a number of tools evaluated in the study, and across the board, these tools were seen as adding value internally and in customer relationship building.  Functions at the company universally reported finding value in these tools.

Finally, McKinsey proves they get it by providing a nifty data visualization tool to see the survey results, because most people like pictures.

I think this signals that social media tools have finally made it to the big time, something that many non-profit organizations have already decided, either due to foresight or necessity. So, how can non-profit organizations use this study to their advantage? I can think of 3 things:

  1. We can approach using social media for vendor/partner relations a little more cautiously based on benefits seen in the corporate world
  2. We can focus on certain tools over others based on what is reflected in the corporate world, although I would urge each of you to look closely at your own constituents and your organization and apply some judgement, because what works for some may not work for others
  3. We can use this study as justification to ask for more investment from our superiors

This last point is the most important, I feel, because of having attended too many conferences where the audience declared something to the effect that I can only devote a quarter of my time to social media tools.

So, go ahead, tell your boss that McKinsey & Co. says to spend more resources on social media. There are benefits, after all. 


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