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Commerical Social Media for UK Business: Part 1

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Last month I visited an Econsultancy social media roundtable, meeting representatives from major UK brands, charities, PRs and other SEM agencies.

Our task: to discuss the issues around using social media for business in the UK.

It was a great chance to meet up in a non-commercial setting and discuss the issues that matter in corporate use of social media, today and tomorrow. Participation was anonymous to encourage free discussion. Over the next few days Ill be posting up take away points from the session: today I will post some background to the social media landscape as described in the recent Search Engine Marketing Benchmark Report. (SEM2009)


According to the SEM2009 co-authored by Guava and Econsultancy, 48% of companies are increasing budgets into social media, yet few have an idea of how much it is working for their brand, demonstrated by the tentative nature of the amounts invested: 55% of companies investing less than £5000 annually. Another telling result was that 25% of companies didnt even know how much they were investing, reflecting perhaps hazy definitions of the term as understood by business.


To me, this harks back to how SEO was perceived by business at the beginning of the century – a "nice to have" medium but too untested to invest heavily in.

However, as happened with SEO, the trend for investment in Social Media is up: most companies reported planning to invest more over the next year:


Which sites were companies investing in? 65% of companies report using Facebook as part of their marketing campaigns, and 49% reported using Twitter, a big gainer from last year.

As SEO has matured, standards and benchmarking has been established that have helped to sell it both internally to the board as well as externally, and nowadays SEO is considered by many as a key source for new and returning business – 47% of companies spend £10,000 or more on SEO, with 2% spending £1million+ annually.

Can we expect to see similar spends in five years time in social media?


I think the results of the report indicate social media can still be thought of as in an infancy stage, where best practice is still being established, but with the sector enjoying rapid growth of traffic. This can be compared to rapid growth of search engines and so the adoption of SEO in the last 10 years.

Next week Ill go over what the panel were using social media for now in the UK, including monitoring and customer support, and how other businesses can start using social media step by step.


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I am really impressed by this blog! Very clear explanation of issues is given and it is open to everyone. thanks for posting this work of yours..this is very good!

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Its a pretty difficult area for most people. Hard to be social with such...bland content.

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