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If you’re going to use social media, make sure you use it to be social!

Posted by Danny Whatmough on 27th October 2011

As you may have picked up already today, we have released our second report investigating how some of the UK’s leading technology companies are using social media. You can download it here.

For the second year in a row, we found that UK technology companies are missing out on the potential of social media by not being social and failing to use these new channels to engage with their audiences.

Only 31% of brands with a Facebook account used it to engage with users and, of those that used Twitter, only 14% of tweets were replies and retweets. When it came to the companies that had a blog, only 20% received comments and only one company took the trouble to reply to comments received.

In the study, we took the 2010 Deloitte Fast Tech 50 – a list of the UK’s 50 fastest growing technology companies and benchmarked their social media activity.

Facebook for B2B is on the rise

One of the most interesting findings this year was that the use of Facebook amongst B2B companies has skyrocketed in the last 12 months with 64% of B2B companies on the platform compared to just 32% previously. Linkedin was still the most popular network used overall (92%), followed by Twitter (80%). YouTube remained the least popular for the second year running (44%). Despite the increase in adoption, most companies were still only using these channels for ‘push’ marketing techniques with 65% of companies with a Facebook page using it for one way communications and 96% of blogs simply broadcasting article and news content without inviting responses.

B2B v B2C

As might be expected, B2C brands in the study were far more likely to engage with users than B2B companies. Of the B2C companies with a Facebook page, 63% used it to engage with consumers compared to just 22% of B2B companies. And, while the percentage of B2B tweets that were replies was only 7%, B2C rated much higher (35%).

Tech companies were also still failing to effectively integrate social media channels with their website. Only 58% of companies in the study had social media links on their homepage despite over 90% of companies having at least one social media site. Half of companies linked Twitter from their homepage, but only 14% linked to a YouTube page or blog.

It’s no longer whether you use it, it’s how you use it

This matches what we’ve found in the last year when speaking to tech companies about social media PR. Whereas a few years ago much of the conversation was about whether tech brands should be using social media. These days, most companies know that they have to get in on the social media act, but are still unsure how to go about it. I predict we’ll see further maturing over the next year, so when version three of the report comes along, maybe we’ll finally see companies using social to be social.

Download ‘How social are you?

Danny Whatmough