their Social Media and Online PR report yesterday, providing a comprehensive
insight into how businesses are currently approaching social media (or not) in
the UK. The headline to fall
out of the report is that the overwhelming majority of companies (86%) plan to
spend more money on social media in 2010, and a further 13% are planning to
keep the same level of budget. But I think of equal interest is whether we’ve
moved on in the last 12 months: are businesses really embracing social media or is there still more talk about it
than actual action.
In my recent
experience the only larger business that are really embedding social media into
their business are either a) those with someone at board level who understands
it or b) younger businesses without a pre-existing company culture to stifle it. The report bears this out citing lack
of knowledge (50%), lack of senior buy-in (33%), lack of resource (32%) and
company culture (28%) as the main barriers preventing clients from engaging in
social media activity.
It’s also interesting
that smaller organisations (turnover less than £1m) are significantly more
likely to be heavily involved in social media. Makes perfect sense, it’s much easier to change direction if
you’re a nippy speed boat than a lumbering cruise liner.
I was genuinely surprised that
when asked what people viewed as the main benefits of social media, “increased
direct traffic to website” was only viewed as a “major benefit” by 56% of
respondents. I mean what? Brand
awareness, customer engagement, reputation management are all vital but perhaps
not understanding how being able to demonstrate ROI by measuring the effect of
activity on brand owned spaces, is why we’re not, as an industry, winning the
battle of trying to convince clients why they should bother in the first place.
The first three are lovely and what we know to be valuable but on which we can’t
as yet put a price tag, the last one can make it easier to open the door to the
sceptic at the top table.
Overall it seems there
is still along way to go before social media engagement (is it just me or isn’t
digital engagement starting to sound like a better term?) is anywhere near
being an accepted part of business operations. As an industry, education and best practice not quick wins,
will be the only way to move this on.
That Tipping Point is a way off yet.