UK companies planning big social media push

We can remember a time, not too long ago, when business leaders were up in arms about the amount of time their employees were wasting using 'social notworking' sites like Facebook and Twitter.

Now it seems that UK enterprise is embracing the lucrative social media market with a new survey suggesting that 69 per cent of British businesses have either already employed a 'community manager' or plan to do so in the next 12 months.

The research, conducted by EPiServer, shows that 28 per cent of the 250 companies surveyed already have a social media or community manger in place and a further 41 per cent will be hiring within a year.

Although most companies currently turn to existing marketing staff to manage their social presence, the survey shows that many companies are moving to new hires to keep abreast of the explosion in use of services like Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, and the young pretender Google+ which attracted 10 million users to its closed beta testing in just a few days.

“These results clearly show that social media is no longer the new kid on the block,” said EpiServer VP Maria Wasing. “However, while an increasing number of businesses are embracing social media, there are clearly areas for improvement if they are to take full advantage of these channels. Managing social media can be challenging and time-consuming, so it’s vital to put in place a dedicated resource, along with the right tools and platforms to ensure multiple channels can be updated and managed with ease.”

Those surveyed said that they would use social media to engage with existing and potential customers (44 per cent), conduct market research (43 per cent) and hold on to their current punters (36 per cent.)

“As more businesses start to take social media seriously, more will look towards employing community managers to ensure activities hit the mark," said Wasing. "As this job function grows in importance, businesses will need to adjust to accommodate this person into the fabric of the company. Social media touches many or all parts of the organisation, from marketing and IT through to customer service and HR. And that’s a good thing, as it forces companies to become more transparent and encourages them to listen to customers in new ways."

So if you a fancy a job which involves buggering about on Facebook and Twitter all day, you might just be in with a shout.