How socialare you?A study looking at how the UK’s leading technologycompanies are using social media.www.emlwildfire.com/tech_social_media@EMLWildfire
How social are you? 2.0 Social media dominates our online lives. More businesses right way. And, when it comes to social media, that means than ever are turning to social networks. engagement. But are they actually being social? This report takes some of the fastest growing UK tech companies and looks at how they are using social media. Social media is increasingly at the heart of everything we do online. At EML Wildfire, our approach focuses on using the right channel for the right audience in the
Is your business really social? Or do you just use social networks? Last year, we looked at the social media activities of 50 What did we do? We took the Deloitte Technology Fast 50 – of the UK’s fastest growing technology companies. a ranking of the UK’s fastest growing tech companies - and looked at how they approach social media. We then pooled We found that, while an increasing number were using all our findings and cross-checked them with last year. social networks, few of them were using these networks to be social. A year on and we’ve decided to revisit the exercise This report reveals what we found. and find out what, if anything, has changed.
Social media usage continuesto grow, but we still aren’tbeing social Our research has found that, while technology companies brands last year, Facebook seemed relatively unpopular. have generally expanded their use of social media over However in 2011, 70% of the companies we looked at had the past year, engagement levels are still low. Companies a registered account. are still stuck in a ‘push marketing’ mindset rather than engaging directly. Facebook on the up Almost all (92%) of the companies in our study had a LinkedIn account, an increase from last year (72%), making it the most used social network in the study. Twitter remained popular, with 82% of the companies in our survey having an account, up from 74% from last year. But the biggest leap forward came in the number of Facebook accounts being used. Used by only 40% of
Interestingly, this increase came wholly from B2B received comments and only 8% of those commentsbusinesses. While 100% of the B2C companies assessed received replies.used Facebook in 2010 and all eight B2C brands this yearwere also on the platform, there was a huge rise from B2B Twitter saw the highest levels of engagement overall. Ofbrands; up from 32% in 2010 to 64% of the 42 assessed the 41 Fast 50 companies with a Twitter account, 68%in 2011. used it to build relationships with followers. However, on average, only 14% of tweets were replies and 14%Engagement shows little change were retweets. So while a company’s Twitter account wasSo, while there’s been a big increase in social media usage generally used more for engagement compared to otherover the last 12 months, engagement is still low. Only social media sites, there is still a very low proportion of31% of those with a Facebook account used it to engage tweets that are used for two-way dialogue.with users. And of companies that had a blog, only 20% By far the most popular use of social media was sharing relevant articles and news. On the whole, most social media content contained links to other sites with news and comment about related industry news. The second most popular use of social media was for one-way marketing communications.
HOMEPAGE LINKSOver half of tech companieslink to social channels fromtheir website homepage In recent years, website homepages have moved from Companies were most likely to publish a Twitter link on a simple shop-front to dynamic, engaging portals. their homepage (58%) and this was the case for both B2B Linking to your social network presence gives visitors and B2C brands. a way to keep in touch even if they aren’t ready to buy, allowing you to build relationships off-site. Only 58% of the companies we assessed had social media links on their homepage despite the fact that over 90% of the companies had at least one social networking site. This is, however, still a significant increase from last year, where only 38% had links.
The only major disparity between B2B and B2C companies 6. Put your latest blog posts on your homepage – encourage visitorswas in relation to LinkedIn with, unsurprisingly, under half to visit your blog by pulling in your latest post on the homepage(45%) of B2B companies providing a link but only 13% of or even featuring relevant posts throughout the siteB2C doing the same. But this is hardly a criticism as LinkedIn 7. Feed in your latest tweet or status update on your homepage –is much more appropriate for B2B brands. this gives your website a real-time and dynamic appearance while demonstrating that you regularly update content and that it’s worth visiting againTop tips for integrating social media into your website 8. Include links to your social media profiles on your contact page –1. Provide prominent links – clearly advertise social network if you are advertising your phone number and email, why not your accounts on every page Twitter or Facebook details too?2. Explain what customers will be getting if they join your social 9. Add staff social media profiles – do you have a ‘staff’ page on network – for example, something like: “for regular service your website? Add their social media profiles alongside telephone updates, follow us on Twitter” numbers or email addresses3. Keep social network links at the top of your webpage – or at least 10. Add ‘Like’, ‘tweet this’ or +1 links – adding these will encourage further up the page so they don’t get missed. By your telephone visitors to share website content with like-minded peers on social number is a good place; after all, it’s just another way to get in networks touch4. Use social network logos – they are instantly recognisable and take up less space5. Add your blog to your site navigation bar – if you have a navigation bar on your website, add your blog as one of the tabs
Intamac shows how to keep social networking links simple and accessible.
TWITTEROnly 14% of tweets are replies Because of its openness, Twitter has always been B2C companies were much better than B2B at using the most accessible network for both B2B and B2C Twitter as a social tool. An average of 35% of tweets from brands. It is therefore also the easiest way for B2C companies were replies compared to just 7% from brands to begin having two-way conversations. B2B brands. Twitter was the best used of all the social media sites. Another interesting finding was the increased use of While the most common use of Twitter was to provide Twitter as a recruitment tool, with 19% using it in this content and articles, 68% used it as a tool for having way – the same as Linkedin. Elsewhere, 86% of companies conversations with consumers, journalists, and other used Twitter for one way marketing communications, while companies. This was a huge leap forward from last year 90% of companies tweeted about industry related articles where 43% of brands had never replied to a tweet. and content. But it’s not all good. While many brands are being ‘social’ on Twitter, many still neglect their account. Of those that have a Twitter account, an average of only 14% of tweets are replies.
Top tips for using Twitter to engage1. Don’t be cryptic – with only 140 characters at your disposal, it’s 6. Link Twitter to your web analytics service – use web analytics to often tricky to get ideas across, but being clear and concise is identify what drives traffic and how effective or likely this traffic crucial in keeping your followers engaged is to convert2. Give followers a reason to click your link – include a link in your 7. Retweet interesting content – embrace your community and if tweets whenever possible and keep your tweets interesting to one of your followers tweets something interesting, retweet it to encourage click-throughs your followers. Add a comment for extra points3. Convey your personality through your tweets – don’t be afraid to 8. Ask questions – one of the best ways to encourage engagement use a lighter tone on Twitter. The more approachable you are, the with your followers is by asking questions. Why not get feedback more likely you are to build relationships with your followers on your latest product or ask for content ideas for your blog?4. Create lists of key people in your industry or useful contacts 9. Be flexible; don’t just tweet about the same thing – the best – use Twitter Lists to put together useful groups of relevant brands on Twitter provide a good balance of different tweets – people. This will help you build links with these influencers and some serious and some promotional, but others that are lighter will also act as a useful resource for your followers in tone and give a more human side to the company5. Respond to replies quickly – if someone directs a message at you 10. Pimp your profile by using your company colours and putting on Twitter, do your best to respond as quickly as possible. Even if together a bespoke background – keep your Twitter profile you don’t know the answer or need to find more information, you consistent with your company branding to make it feel more can still set expectations credible
The best example of how to use Twitter as a social tool came from LOVEFiLM. Not onlydid the B2C brand use Twitter to engage in general conversation, it also used it to helpcustomers with problems and answer queries
FacebookBrands f lock to Facebook, butonly 31% use it to be social With more than 800 million people on Facebook and and a very low percentage (31%) used it for customer, over 700 billion minutes per month spent on the site, journalist and business engagement. the potential to use Facebook to reach an audience is clear. Facebook remains the realm of B2C brands but, over the last year, B2B use of Facebook rose from 32% to 64%. There has been a dramatic rise over the last year in the There has also been an increase in customer engagement number of tech brands using Facebook. In 2010, only 40% from B2B sites moving from 5% in 2010 to 22% this time of companies had a presence on Facebook, but this now round. For most (59%) B2B companies, Facebook was used stands at 70%. A potential reason for this could be the for posting related articles and content. Also popular was way Facebook has opened up the network to brands in the posting one-way communication messages with 56% of last year with the changes to Facebook Pages. B2B companies using Facebook for this. Although the increase in brands using Facebook shows Tech companies have taken steps in the right direction in growing understanding of its importance and potential, the past year, but Facebook still remains underused and only 14% of companies used it for customer services misused.
Top tips for using Facebook to engage with fans 1. Post regular status updates – as with all social networks, it is something negative, don’t just leave it unanswered. Consider important to post useful and engaging content regularly. Don’t taking it offline to prevent mud slinging! overdo it in terms of frequency but don’t leave it weeks between 7. Share latest blog posts on your Facebook page – if you have posts a blog, then make sure you share your latest posts on your 2. Use other content such as videos or images – Facebook is a very Facebook fan page. You can even use tools to help you automate visual platform (just check out an average user’s profile page) so this process use as much video or imagery as possible 8. Consider running Facebook adverts to increase fan base – there’s 3. Run promotions or competitions – these can be a fantastic way to no shortcut to proper engagement, but targeted Facebook ads increase fans and make your community feel valued can be a useful way to initially help grow a relevant fan base 4. Respond to comments on your posts – if someone responds to 9. Don’t be too commercial – your fans will likely know what you do a post or asks a question, make sure you get back in touch and and offer so you don’t need to be overly commercial. Not every start developing a dialogue post needs to be “me, me, me” 5. Experiment with different tabs or discussion groups – the 10. Offer exclusive content to your fans – show your fans you care, by Facebook wall is only one element that can be included on a offering them something they cannot get elsewhere. This could page. Discussion groups can also be a great way to build up more be early access to a new product or a special discount code, for interest within your community example 6. Reply to criticism, don’t just ignore it – if someone does post
Retail Eyes is a prime example of how not to run a Facebook page as, despite thepage being set up months ago, nothing has been posted so far!SkyScanner provides a fantastic example of how to use Facebook effectively. Thevariety of topics discussed and competitions encourage fans to return and the livechat function is a great way to provide customer service on a social network.
BlogsDon’t forget, blogs can besocial too Blogs have long been at the forefront of the web However, for a blog to be ‘social’ it’s necessary to 2.0 revolution and there are now 130 million in encourage and engage in dialogue with readers and other existence. Companies have flocked to this ‘owned bloggers. Only a tiny minority of tech companies entered media’ channel, but how many realise it can be social? into two-way conversations with their audience: just five of the blogs (20%) received comments on a regular basis; Used well, blogs can drive traffic, encourage engagement and only 2 of these had a response posted from the brand. and help create community. But, if not updated regularly, they can quickly become stale and uninteresting. There is still a way to go before blogs can claim to be truly social; companies need to carefully weigh up the benefits Exactly half of the companies in our study had some of investing in a two-way blog strategy against the sort of blog, which is close to last year’s findings (46%). resources required to implement it. Overall, the majority of companies updated their blog monthly and nearly all (96%) blogged about related industry news.
Tips for running a corporate blog 1. Set realistic frequency targets and stick to them – don’t pretend 7. Add RSS and email sign-ups – RSS feeds allow your readers to you’ll blog every day if you know that will be a challenge. Be subscribe to posts without having to visit regularly. Alternatively, realistic with content goals, making it easier to stick to them and you can let visitors subscribe by email setting expectations for website visitors 8. Share your posts on social networks – ensure you remember to 2. Keep posts, paragraphs and sentences short – we read differently alert followers on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn about your latest online so keep it short! Around 300-500 words is ideal with sub- blog posts heads to break the text and help readers navigate through your 9. Read and respond to other blogs – as a blogger, you need to post participate in the community to really reap the benefits. Reply to 3. Make your content interesting and relevant – think about your posts on other blogs in your sector and they may start to return audience. Who is it you are trying to appeal to? Make sure your the favour content will be interesting and useful to them 10. Be controversial – make your blog stand out from the crowd by 4. Convey personality – set the right tone, but don’t be afraid to give saying something different. This will help you attract and retain your bloggers the freedom to convey their own individuality readers 5. Demonstrate your expertise and knowledge – show your readers you know your industry and make them feel they can trust you to come up with the goods 6. Always reply to comments on your blog – even if it is just a sentence or two. Make your readers feel valued and they’ll return again and again
Again, Mimecast excelled here by not only replying to posts on its blog but alsotrying to engage posters in further conversation.
LinkedInOnly 20% published jobvacancies on LinkedIn LinkedIn is the social network for professionals. (52%) of companies had an embedded newsfeed detailing Research shows its members have more brand loyalty their latest news and activity on Twitter. than any other network, including Facebook. Yet many brands have not yet found a way to exploit its Although LinkedIn is often seen as a tool for recruitment, popularity and realise its potential. only 20% of companies with an account used it to list vacancies. Most just used it as a holding page on the LinkedIn was by far the most popular social network with network for the company. 92% of the tech companies tested having an account. However, while it was extremely popular, only just over half
Top Tips for businesses using LinkedIn 1. Fill out your company profile – your LinkedIn company (and 6. Share useful articles or resources – give your connections a personal) profile is likely to rank quite high in web searches, so reason to keep listening. Share useful information and they’ll make sure it is as up to date as your website come back for more 2. Use widgets to integrate other tools – LinkedIn makes it easy to 7. Request recommendations from happy customers or clients – feed in information to your personal profile, like your latest blog peer recommendation is proven to be much more effective than posts or Slideshare presentation for example, using widgets advertising or direct mail. If you have happy clients, make sure 3. Monitor and answer questions in LinkedIn Answers – keep an eye they write about their positive experience on your personal on relevant questions and submit answers to demonstrate your profile expertise. Give one person in your company responsibility for 8. Post job listings and tap into the wisdom of your community checking these on a regular basis – once your community is a decent size, you can tap into this 4. Update your status regularly – many people ignore the status knowledge to find the perfect recruit update potential on their LinkedIn personal account. You can 9. Include your LinkedIn URL on your signature and business card even link your status updates with other social networking – make it easy for prospects, customers and acquaintances to accounts to make it easier to manage all your social networks at add you on LinkedIn. Get a vanity URL and add it to your email the same time signature and business card 5. Start or help manage a group for your product, brand or industry 10. Visit LinkedIn on a regular basis or integrate it into a third party – if there is already a popular group relating to your industry, app – you might not need to visit LinkedIn as often as other then get involved and reply to questions and posts. If there isn’t social networks, but by adding your LinkedIn account to a third one, consider starting one party application like Tweetdeck, you can constantly stay on top of what’s going on
DisplayLink make good use ofnewsfeeds in their LinkedIn site. Moneybookers increases their personnel reach by advertising vacancies on LinkedIn
YouTube83% increase in the use ofYouTube in the last year Founded in 2005, YouTube quickly became the world’s of companies were seen to have an account, up from 24% most popular video hosting website, with 24 hours of last year. video content uploaded every single minute. The story for the use of YouTube is similar to that of the YouTube has a number of social features, including the other networks assessed; companies have an account but ability to share and embed videos on websites, blogs or aren’t using it effectively. A mere 14% of videos received other social networks, liking and disliking content and, of comments and only a third of those received a response course, the ability to comment on a video on the site. from the company. When leading technology companies like Salesforce put Most of the companies posting on YouTube provided YouTube at the heart of their social media strategy, its company profile videos (82%) and 41% of companies potential became clear. posted videos of interviews. Only 14% of companies posted videos detailing new products. 2011 has seen a fairly substantial rise in the popularity of YouTube for tech companies. In our latest survey, 44%
Top tips on using YouTube to help build brand awareness 1. Think about what video content your audience will find useful and Unifying your channel with your own branding will make it look interesting – so many corporate videos end up being boring and more professional dull, so think carefully about what will be most interesting and 7. Share your videos on your other social network accounts – don’t relevant for your audience forget to share videos you have uploaded on your other social 2. Customers or prospects? – think about whether your video is network profiles aimed at providing value to your customers or if it is more of a 8. Write clear titles and descriptions for your videos to increase sales tool for prospects. The video and its message will likely be search traffic – video is playing an ever increasingly important very different for each audience role in search. So make sure Google can find it easily by including 3. Uploading the video is only half the job – once your video is on lots of relevant keywords YouTube, you need to think carefully about where to place it and 9. Keep them the right length – it is unlikely someone will sit how to seed it. Would it be something that would be of interest to through a 20 minute video – unless it’s REALLY useful – so keep bloggers or journalists? Can you post it on social networks? the videos short and to the point. This will also encourage more 4. Don’t forget to reply to comments – if someone posts a comment people to share on your video – good or bad – make sure you respond 10. Keep your YouTube account active – if you’ve gone to the trouble 5. Track where your videos have been hosted online – keep an eye of creating a YouTube page, then make sure you keep it engaging on whether your video has been embedded on other blogs or by adding new content at regular intervals websites. There might be lots of conversation around the video that you aren’t even aware of! 6. Add your logo and company branding to your YouTube channel – if someone views your video, chances are they might then click through to your channel to see what else you have to offer.
HostelBookers provided fresh and interesting content on YouTube and thecomments they got were very positive.
Time to make the most of yourinvestment in social It is clear that UK tech companies see the So why are so many of the fastest growing tech importance of social media, with usage figures companies not using social media in a social way? soaring over the last year. But too many are still failing to make the most of this investment. Instead of sitting down and thinking carefully, and strategically, about how to approach and use these Why should they? new channels, companies are simply using them as an extension of pre-existing marketing techniques. Social media offers a diverse range of opportunities, from learning about your audience and building a loyal The companies that have scored highly in our survey customer base to nurturing prospects as they go through show that by being social, a business can begin to build your sales cycle. sustained relationships with end users. Social media marketing is not a black art that requires vast experience or knowledge. Indeed, it could be seen as one of the easiest forms of marketing. After all, most of us already use social networks on a regular basis to chat with friends or network with colleagues.
5 steps to the perfectsocial strategy Anyone tasked with managing social media might be 3. What are you going to say? tempted just to set up an account and start sending out Content is key. You could have the best community in the messages. But, we’d suggest a more strategic approach: world, but if you’ve got nothing to say, you won’t be able to engage in conversation. 1. What’s the objective? From customer service and engagement to driving sales, 4. Who’s going to manage it? social media can be used for a vast array of different Deciding who will run and manage your social media business tasks. So it’s important to think about which activity will again depend on what you are trying to achieve one/s are important to you. and who your audience is. Invest in training and find the right people – internally and externally for the job. 2. How will you build a community? Having an objective is one thing, but if no one is listening 5. How will you measure success? to you, you’ll never achieve it. Building or tapping into As with all types of marketing and PR, if you can’t measure a community is therefore crucial. So find where your outputs and outcomes, you’ll never know whether it’s audience is and begin to reach out to them. working. Agree metrics in advance and review them on a regular basis to work out whether it’s working.
The Deloitte fastTechnology 50 2010 Autonomy Corporation plc Geo Networks Mimecast Ltd Beaming Ltd Global Personals Ltd Mobile Interactive Group (MIG) Bglobal plc Gradwell Dot Com Ltd Moneybookers Ltd Biome Technologies Ltd Greenlight Marketing Ltd Net Media Planet Ltd Bloxx Grove Information Systems Lts Node4 Ltd BlueGnome Ltd Gyron Internet Ltd O-bit Telecom Ltd C4L Heart Internet Periscopix Cambridge Broadband Networks Ltd Helveta Ltd Rehabstudio ClinTec International HostelBookers Retail Eyes (UK) Ltd Concentra Innovise plc Saffron Media Group Ltd Content and Code Ltd Intamac Systems Ltd Skyscanner Ltd DisplayLink (UK) Ltd Jagex Ltd TranslateMedia Export Technologies Latens Systems Ltd TTG (southern) Ltd Fjordnet Ltd Leaf Consultancy Ubisense Trading Lts Fluidata Lovefilm UK Ltd UK Grid Focus 4 U Ltd M247 Ltd Yudu Ltd Forward Internet Group Markit Group Holdings Ltd
About EML Wildfire Building awareness, engaging audiences, driving sales EML Wildfire is a technology PR agency delivering high impact campaigns that build market awareness, engage target audiences and drive sales for technology Download this report at businesses across global markets. Our technology www.emlwildfire.com/tech_social_media PR approach combines sector knowledge and market insights with traditional and digital PR skills to generate measurable results that position our clients for commercial success. + 44 208 408 8000 firstname.lastname@example.org www.emlwildfire.com