UK tech brands embrace social media, but aren’t being social

A benchmark study released today reveals that while 90% of technology companies have a presence on two or more social networks, a significant majority are failing to use these channels to engage in a two-way dialogue with customers and followers.

The results of the study, which analysed the social media activity of the 2009 Deloitte Fast Tech 50, are revealed in a Wildfire whitepaper, Putting the ‘social’ back into social media’.

Twitter was the most popular network used (74%), followed by Linkedin (72%) and then Facebook (20%). Less than half (48%) had a blog.

But the study confirmed many technology brands view social media as an opportunity to push out marketing messages and corporate content; 60% of companies with a Facebook page used it purely as a distribution channel; 57% of companies with a Twitter account used it solely for one-way marketing activity; and only 25% of blogs received comments on a regular basis.

In addition, a large proportion of technology companies in the study are ignoring feedback from their audiences. While 66% of Facebook pages received comments from users, 75% of these companies failed to reply to the comments: only 3% of the tweets in the study were retweets and just 12% were replies. Shockingly, 43% of brands with a Twitter account had never replied to a tweet. A tiny 9% of companies replied to comments on their blog.

Companies also failed to integrate social media with their online presence: only 34% of companies assessed link to their social network accounts from their website homepage, with only 18% linking to a Twitter account and 2% linking to Facebook. Only 22% featured their blog on their homepage and on social networks themselves, the integration wasn’t any better, with only 51% of companies on Twitter even including links to their website or blog in their tweets.

Debby Penton, Managing Director at Wildfire said:

“To be truly effective, social media requires a different mindset entirely to traditional ‘push marketing’ and our research demonstrates that brands haven’t factored this into their thinking when using social media. With correct foresight and planning, social media can be a wonderfully effective and cost efficient way of developing relationships with end users and achieving bottom line returns.”

Wildfire recommends that technology companies step back and reassess how they are using social media and work out how best to reach their target audience through these channels. Wildfire has listed ten key questions that any company should ask before embarking on social media activity:

  1. What is your target audience/s?
  2. What are the most appropriate social networks to reach this audience/s?
  3. What content is going to be of interest to your audience?
  4. Who in your business is going to be in charge of social media activity?
  5. What happens when you get customer service enquiries through social media channels?
  6. What is the tone and personality of your brand? How do you want this to be conveyed through social media?
  7. How does the real-time response required with social media affect your existing approval processes?
  8. What should your corporate social media guidelines look like?
  9. Who is going to develop and create content for these channels?
  10. What is the business goal for social media? How will you measure and evaluate whether social media activity is having a successful effect on your bottom line?

The full results of the research can be downloaded from www.wildfirepr.co.uk/tech_social_media. You can follow Wildfire on Twitter: http://twitter.com/wildfirepr

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