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Companies are (still) failing to engage on social media

Posted by Andrew Hill on 10th January 2013

For the past two years (okay, three now technically) we’ve conducted a study into how social media is being used by the UK’s fastest growing technology companies, titled ‘How social are you?’. Today we released the findings from our latest study – you can download it here.

We analysed businesses listed in the 2012 Deloitte Fast Tech 50; a list of the fastest growing technology companies in the UK. It’s a combination of small and large companies from all corners of the technology industry, united by impressive growth figures over the last year.

Each company underwent the same analysis process. Rather than just recording whether or not these organisations were on social networks, the report takes an in-depth look at what they were saying and doing through these channels, as well as how frequently they were engaging with their audience.

In theory, these businesses should be leading the way in terms of marketing strategy, especially where digital marketing is concerned. But as a great philosopher once said:

In theory, communism works. In theory. ~ Homer Simpson, 1994

Give me the trends

So lets not beat around the bush – the results. Conclusively, an overwhelming majority of businesses are continuing to miss out on the potential of social media by failing to use it to engage with their audiences.

Despite the number of tech companies using social media continuing to rise – with this year being the first year where every company had at least one social media account – the number of brands that are actually building two-way conversations has fallen in the past twelve months.

Here are some of the highlights, in an attention-span-friendly list:

  • Facebook usage is declining – use by brands has fallen over the last 12 months. Particularly surprising was the finding that only 83% of B2C companies used Facebook compared to 100% in 2010 and 2011.
  • LinkedIn comes out on top again – the social network remained the most popular amongst tech companies (98%), followed by Twitter (82%). However, only 22% of businesses on the network advertised job vacancies on their page, despite being a highly used part of the LinkedIn experience.
  • Engagement levels on Twitter fall – while the use of Twitter for customer service by many household name brands continued apace in 2012, customer engagement by technology companies fell by almost two thirds to 24%.
  • Google+ struggling to maintain interest – now into its second year of existence, Google+ is struggling for popularity amongst tech brands. Whilst 42% of the companies studied have Google+ accounts (a figure comparable to Facebook six years after launch) a staggering 57% of these were no longer active.
  • Fewer blog, but those that do are improving – overall, the tech companies that have a corporate blog saw a clear increase in the frequency and diversity of posts being published, but only one of the brands assessed saw any engagement in return. However, blogging in general saw a decline, falling to just 28% of companies.
  • B2C continue to engage more than B2B – but this gap is rapidly closing each year. In 2010 the number of B2B and B2C companies with an account were 32% and 100% respectively, this has narrowed to just 17% in the past two years.

The full results of the research can be downloaded from

Photo courtesy of Sebastian Anthony.

Andrew Hill

Originally joining Wildfire as a graduate, fresh from the University of Sheffield, Andy quickly gained a PRCA qualification and built a practical knowledge of PR, working across a broad range of clients.