Brands deploy social but fail to engage, study claims

By Chris Lee

Some of the UK’s most exciting new technology companies are failing to engage on social media and could be missing out on business opportunities as a result. This is the conclusion of a study of the Deloitte Fast Tech 50 list by UK-based PR company EML Wildfire. Most alarmingly, researchers claim to have found that nearly two-thirds (57 per cent) of Google+ accounts were inactive and the number of brands that are actually building two-way conversations has fallen in the last 12 months. The popularity of Facebook has also dropped significantly over this time period, EML Wildfire claims.

Just ten per cent of the Deloitte Fast Tech 50 actually engage on social networks, according to the study’s author, Danny Whatmough, director of digital strategies at EML Wildfire.

“We’ve noticed a change in the conversation around social media in the last year. Technology companies know they have to be active on social media, but they are often unsure about the best way to go about it,” he said. “Deciding where to be active, identifying the right content to produce and ensuring internal processes are in place are now the main challenges.”

LinkedIn remains popular, Facebook declines

Whatmough told NMK that EML Wildfire had made five key observations:

Facebook usage is declining: use by brands has fallen over the last 12 months, with 83 per cent of consumer-facing brands using Facebook compared to 100 per cent in 2010 and 2011

LinkedIn is popular: The most popular social network of the 50 companies examined was LinkedIn, with 98 per cent using it.

Twitter engagement falls: Twitter was the second most-favoured social network (82 per cent), but EML Wildfire found that engagement levels had fallen by two thirds to 24 per cent

Google+ fails to find relevance: The tech companies examined are struggling to find a role for Google’s social network. While 42 per cent have set up Google+ accounts – a figure comparable to Facebook six years after launch – the majority (57 per cent) of these were no longer active

Fewer brands blog, but those that do are improving: Less than a third 28 per cent of the tech brands studied run a blog, representing a decline, but those that do blog have increased the frequency and diversity of posts.

Whatmough added that, as maybe would be expected, consumer-facing (B2C) brands continued to be more likely to engage with users than business-to-business (B2B) companies.

“Social media offers businesses a unique opportunity to engage with their audience directly, wherever they are,” Whatmough concluded. “For many, this can be a key differentiator; a way of building awareness, warming leads and retaining existing customers.”  

The full results of the research can be downloaded from www.emlwildfire.com/tech_social_media

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