UK businesses need to get online or lose out!

Just a day after the Chancellor’s Budget andsocialmediatopimage-copy-765x430 UK PLC is still scratching its head.  Tax burdens, pressure on margins, examining overheads… But the smart movers are getting ahead of the game, and have already taken their messages online. Still, don’t despair as it isn’t too late and you don’t have to be stuck on the hard shoulder as competitors forge ahead.

The fact is that over the past 12 months almost half of UK businesses have not yet taken measures to adjust their strategies to social media and are still struggling to recognise its benefits. That’s mainly due to  perceived difficulties in measuring success and ROI, and fundamentally a lack of confidence in using it.

These were the main findings of a research conducted by the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) and global marketing and technology agency LBi. The study’s aim was to examine what progress companies in the UK have made with regards to adopting the use of social media for business.

Over 600 senior managers at UK consumer businesses across retail, finance, travel, manufacturing, telecoms and pharmaceutical sectors were surveyed.

The research found that over the past year 45% of companies had not implemented any strategies to become more social.

Businesses are still finding it difficult to identify who should be responsible for the management of social media efforts. In larger organisations, 19% of CEOs are in charge of the company’s social media activities; whereas for SMEs it’s 29%. Shockingly, the responsibility of managing social media doesn’t sit with anyone for 13% of the businesses surveyed.

A staggering 36% of respondents – that’s more than a third – admitted they are still not confident in using social media for marketing purposes and 27% said they don’t know how to measure the results of their social media efforts.

Almost half of sales and marketing departments are making use of social media to increase brand awareness, but only 28% are utilising these channels for communication and engagement with consumers.

On the bright side, there is a noticeable trend that businesses are at least trying to become more social and understand the potential benefits. 55% have even managed to reshape their business structure and processes for social.

Despite social media being around for more than a decade, it seems a lot of UK businesses are still reluctant to make a more serious approach to it for marketing purposes. They struggle to measure how the platforms benefit their operations and they find it difficult to spend enough time to use these channels effectively.

Obviously there’s room for improvement and it’s a great time to educate companies of the true value of social media. Businesses must realise the massive opportunities that these platforms provide and work harder on making changes and adapting their strategies to new forms of communication if they want to be around in the next few years.

One thing is for sure, even if you don’t go online then someone else will, and they could be your competitors – and your potential customers too!

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