The Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA) has released a survey of how businesses are using social media. The contents of the survey can be found here.

The survey looks to be based on 134 responses of business to business (B2B) companies. Some interesting highlights:

  1. The percentage of companies already offering social networking technologies is 42%. The percentage planning to in the near future is an additional 36%. So some time in "the near future" nearly 80% of these companies will be offering some form of social networking.
  2. The primary benefit to these companies, from their perspective, is to reach new audiences and increase user engagement. Based on their own experiences, about 40% of the respondents believe they are reaching new audiences, while another 40% expect to. Thirty-three percent are increasing engagement while another 52% expect to.
  3. Just over a third of those surveyed (34%) have user generated content, but another 24% expect to have it soon.
  4. Over half (54%) have blogs. Interestingly, only 35% think blogging has had a positive effect. The other 65% felt it had a "mixed" effect. But none felt it was a pure negative.

The results of the survey are also worth reading for the open-ended comments that are provided.

I'd be interested to know how this compares to the association market. My gut says the numbers across the board would be much lower, but I'm unaware of any recent association industry surveys about social media. Perhaps my buddy Ben Martin can help us out here.

My two take-aways from the survey:

  1. Clearly, social media is important to the vast majority of these companies. It's not going away.
  2. Blogging is a net positive. Even if most of the respondents felt it had a mixed effect, I've got to believe there are more positives than negatives, especially since not a single company responded that blogging was purely negative.