Newest Zweig Group Research Publication Takes In-Depth Look At Social Media

May 26, 2016

Spotlight Survey Finds Firms most likely to promote, engage, communicate, spy via various networks
Fayetteville, AR. — May 26, 2016 — Zweig Group, the leading source of management advice and industry data for architecture, engineering, planning, and environmental consulting firms, has released its inaugural Social Media Spotlight Survey of A/E/P & Environmental Firms. The full-color, 140 page, digital document offers readers insights on social media usage across the A/E/P and environmental industry related to topics such as promotion, recruiting and retention, and marketing, among others. “There’s no denying that social media is pervasive in our personal lives,” said Andrea Bennett, Zweig Group’s research and publications manager. “The Social Media Spotlight Survey takes that analysis a step farther – behind the doors of leading architecture, engineering, and environmental firms – to see if and how the best in our industry are implementing these tools to reach their goals for communication, recruiting and retention, and marketing.” The data show that A/E/P and environmental firms see some social networking platforms – specifically Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, with 47 percent, 47 percent, and 31 percent of respondents reporting a presence there – as more valuable for reaching their target demographics than others, such as YouTube, Tumblr, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, Flickr, Foursquare, and Behance. “Firms are definitely seeing these platforms as a means to generate awareness of their services and areas of expertise,” Bennett said, “and they are strategic about including additional media or interactive elements to generate more involvement with the posts.” The 2016 Social Media Spotlight Survey data show that firms are most likely to use their social media accounts to promote their services (66 percent); network with clients, potential clients, suppliers, etc. (52 percent); post job openings (38 percent); share blog posts, videos, white papers, etc., by employees (36 percent); and promote new hires and/or the achievements of current employees (36 percent). To make these posts more engaging, 63 percent of respondents report including photos, videos, and podcasts. In terms of recruiting, specifically, there is various among firms’ usage of social media networks to attempt to reach the best and the brightest candidates. Though only 23 percent of firms overall report “sometimes” using social media for recruiting purposes, among fast growth firms – those that have experienced an average annual growth in revenue and staff of at least 20 percent over the past three years – that number jumps to 40 percent. Interestingly, only 20 percent of fast growth firms report using social media for recruiting “frequently and thoroughly,” closer to one-third of high/very high profit firms (29 percent) – those with annual pre-tax, pre-bonus profits of more than 10 percent over the past three years – and firms overall (30 percent) report doing so. The outlook for social media marketing as a budget line looks bleak – possibly because most of these networks are free to participate on – with almost three-quarters (72 percent) of firms devoting less than 5 percent of their marketing budget to social media activities and about one-quarter of respondents citing social media marketing as “very unimportant.” It could be determined, from this very basic overview of the wealth of information contained within the 2016 Social Media Spotlight Survey for A/E/P & Environmental Firms, that the industry is still working to decide the best uses of these vast and ever-changing platforms. Though most firms seem to recognize the importance of a least having a presence on certain social media outlets, and there is definitely an interest in networks such as LinkedIn as tools for recruitment, there also seems to be some hesitancy to devote actual marketing or other monies to social media endeavors, perhaps because – as the Spotlight Survey shows – there seems to be no agreed upon means for determining success or return on investment when using these channels. In any event, the 2016 Social Media Spotlight Survey of A/E/P & Environmental Firms is a definite must-have for anyone interested in the future of marketing and recruiting – especially digital marketing and recruiting – in our industry, as this inaugural edition will provide the benchmark for all that follow. For more information on this or any Zweig Group publication, call 800.466.6275 or email To purchase the 2016 Social Media Spotlight Survey, visit

About Zweig Group

Zweig Group, three times on the Inc. 500/5000 list, is the industry leader and premiere authority in AEC firm management and marketing, the go-to source for data and research, and the leading provider of customized learning and training. Zweig Group exists to help AEC firms succeed in a complicated and challenging marketplace through services that include: Mergers & Acquisitions, Strategic Planning, Valuation, Executive Search, Board of Director Services, Ownership Transition, Marketing & Branding, and Business Development Training. The firm has offices in Dallas and Fayetteville, Arkansas.