By: Kristin Rabas, Account Executive, Leonard & Finco Public Relations, Inc.

As an account executive at Leonard & Finco Public Relations, I speak to all of my clients about social media whether they are currently active in it or not. I’m not saying that every social media outlet is right for every single business, but it’s important that all businesses are at least aware of and have a realistic grasp on what it’s all about.

For example, a client once told me that their industry tended to be old fashioned and nobody in their industry would be involved in social media. After a little research, I had to agree – there were a limited number of companies in this industry using social media. However, the kicker was that the majority of the industry’s targeted media outlets and specialty publications had editors, reporters and more with Twitter and Facebook accounts. Needless to say – the company was quite surprised.

This may only be one example, but it shows how social networking literally seems to be everywhere! Let’s look specifically at Northeast Wisconsin.

Leonard & Finco Public Relations recently conducted an Internet survey that found social media usage among Northeast Wisconsin businesses and community groups and journalists had significantly increased in the past year.

This year’s survey revealed*:
-more than 67% of business and community leaders surveyed use social media for work
-nearly 89% of area journalists use social media for work purposes

Approximately one year ago, Leonard & Finco Public Relations conducted the same online survey about social media. In the past year, according to both surveys, businesses and community leaders using social media increased from 56% to 67% while journalists using social media went from 68% to 89%.

The majority of Northeast Wisconsin business / community leaders using social media for work say they do so to:
-Connect with / communicate with others in the community or their industry (76%)
-Connect with / communicate with clients (39.5%)
Monitor news (36.5%)

On the other hand, area journalists use social media in a very direct way to help them do their jobs, reporting they:
-Find contacts and interviews (77%)
-Help identify story ideas (70%)
-Share stories with others (67%)

However, the survey also showed some business and community groups are still undecided about whether social media is having a positive impact on their organizations, with 41% unsure of the impact.

So, what do you think? Are you surprised by the findings of this survey? Have you started using social media for your business in the last year? If so, what changed your mind?

For more results and to learn more about Leonard & Finco Public Relations’ social media survey, visit http://www.lfpublicrelations.com/.

*Note: The Leonard & Finco Internet survey targeted more than 160 area journalists and more than 760 Northeast Wisconsin business / community leaders. The response rate was 20%.