More than 50% of European businesses not making the most of social media

More than 50% of European businesses not making the most of social media

Businesses are not making the most of social media platforms, according to new research from global technology company Pitney Bowes. Only 44% of organisations surveyed in France, Germany and the UK say they are using social media to communicate with customers.  This is despite the evidence that 78% of those businesses which embrace them as part of a physical and digital marketing strategy are seeing business growth as a direct result1. 

The proliferation of connected devices makes it easier than ever before for us to communicate using social media. Facebook currently has the largest share of users, with 77% of consumers in France, Germany and the UK currently active on the platform2, followed by Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. SnapChat, Pinterest, WhatsApp and Tumblr also remain hugely popular. Forecasts reveal that in 2018 there will be approximately 2.67 billion social media users worldwide, an increase from 1.91 billion in 20143.  These invaluable digital channels should be integrated into an organisation’s business strategy, but all-too-often their value is overlooked, misunderstood or underestimated.  

Consumer brands are stealing a march on their business-to-business peers when it comes to effectiveness of their use of social media platforms. Starbucks, Coca-Cola, MTV and Samsung Mobile were the most effective brands on Facebook according to marketing firm Mavrck4. B2B organisations, perhaps from fear or a lack of understanding, still have much to gain from smart use of social media platforms, suggests their research.

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Businesses know they should be doing more: the Pitney Bowes study reveals that more than a quarter of businesses believe their marketing mix needs to change over the next five years.  And within the next two years, 64% of businesses expect to use social media much more than they do today to communicate with their customers.  But two years is a long time. Effective, considered communication across social media must be worked into the physical and digital marketing mix now, or businesses risk behind left behind. 

You might think of yourself as a social media pro, but here are my Top Ten social media reminders and best practices for us all to consider for our businesses:

1.    Be responsive The immediacy of social media is a major contributor to its appeal. It also has a negative effect on the customer experience and brand reputation if organisations don’t respond in real-time when expected. Businesses must structure their operations and empower customer care teams to respond across digital platforms quickly and efficiently. It’s an opportunity to improve the customer experience achat cialis

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2.    Listen, don’t shout   Social media channels are not the place for businesses to broadcast their wares. Whilst a useful conduit to educate and inform audiences – think TfL and London tube strikes, or local authorities and weather updates – they are platforms for extracting opinion and gauging consumer sentiment; for generating multi-way dialogue; for creating communities and driving engagement. Sometimes in our hurry to post, we forget this.   

3.    Be authentic Digital media users are receptive to messages. They may be viewing several platforms simultaneously but once you have their attention, they’re all yours. This makes it even more important for brands to be authentic: to develop a clear brand voice and tone, pitched at the right level with the right content according to the platform they’re using.   

4.    Be precise with targeting It’s easy to create a tightly-targeted campaign across digital media. Take LinkedIn, for example. Official LinkedIn statistics reveal that two new members join LinkedIn every second. 40% of users check it daily, and it is used in 200 countries and territories. If you’re at a trade show and you want to generate interest within an audience based in a particular location, you can do so, quickly and easily on LinkedIn.

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