A poll of 100 in-house PR and marketing professionals by McCann Erickson Bristol found 46 were unable to access social networking sites at work. The researchers questioned comms chiefs from 100 companies spending at least £1m on marketing per year.
Joanna Randall, head of PR at McCann Erickson Bristol, said by blocking access to social
media sites, companies were not showing support for their own communications departments. ‘If as a communications professional you can't see what's being said about your brand, that's quite tough,' she said. ‘Communication is about creating word of mouth and a brand profile.'
Drew Benvie, managing director of 33 Digital, said communications professionals who were blocked from social media sites should not use this as an excuse for not understanding
the technology. Benvie said such people should attempt to gain access via their IT departments.
But he questioned whether in-house communications staff needed a deep knowledge of social media. ‘They don't necessarily need specialist understanding because they can bring in experts,' said Benvie.
The McCann Erickson survey found that around 65 per cent of those surveyed felt they did not have adequate knowledge on how to use social media correctly in marketing.
Randall said though communications professionals were aware of social media, they tended to use it on a ‘reactive' rather than a ‘proactive' basis.