Are we any nearer to the Tipping Point?


Econsultancy launched their Social Media and Online PR report yesterday, providing a comprehensive insight into how businesses are currently approaching social media (or not) in the UK. The headline to fall out of the report is that the overwhelming majority of companies (86%) plan to spend more money on social media in 2010, and a further 13% are planning tokeep the same level of budget.

But I think of equal interest is whether we’ve moved on in the last 12 months: are businesses really embracing social media or is there still more talk about it than actual action.

In my recent experience the only larger business that are really embedding social media into their business are either a) those with someone at board level who understands it or b) younger businesses without a pre-existing company culture to stifle it. The report bears this out citing lack of knowledge (50%), lack of senior buy-in (33%), lack of resource (32%) and company culture (28%) as the main barriers preventing clients from engaging in social media activity.

It’s also interesting that smaller organisations (turnover less than £1m) are significantly more likely to be heavily involved in social media.Makes perfect sense, it’s much easier to change direction if you’re a nippy speed boat than a lumbering cruise liner.

I was genuinely surprised that when asked what people viewed as the main benefits of social media, “increased direct traffic to website” was only viewed as a “major benefit” by 56% of respondents. I mean what? Brand awareness, customer engagement, reputation management are all vital but perhapsnot understanding how being able to demonstrate ROI by measuring the effect of activity on brand owned spaces, is why we’re not, as an industry, winning the battle of trying to convince clients why they should bother in the first place.
The first three are lovely and what we know to be valuable but on which we can’t as yet put a price tag, the last one can make it easier to open the door to the sceptic at the top table.

Overall it seems thereis still along way to go before social media engagement (is it just me or isn’t digital engagement starting to sound like a better term?) is anywhere nearbeing an accepted part of business operations. As an industry, education and best practice not quick wins, will be the only way to move this on.

That Tipping Point is a way off yet.

Image by Nicora

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7 Responses to “Are we any nearer to the Tipping Point?”

  1. I agree with you (, but also think this stat is quite telling:
    26% saying they are heavily involved in social media and 64% having experimented but not ‘done much’
    Lots of companies are ‘dipping their toes’, but that’s never going to really achieve results…

  2. katie moffat says:

    You know this is something that I’m so divided about. On the one hand I think that you shouldn’t mess around with Facebook pages and twitter accounts until you have considered objectives, done your listening and roadmap but on the other hand, particularly with larger businesses, it seems like small steps are the only way to get them to move. Otherwise they appear paralysed by indecision.

  3. katie moffat says:

    and I’m not suggesting that Facebook and Twitter are the sum total of social media ;)

  4. I’m all for messing about – you need to use these things (privately and professionally) to work out how they can really help your business. But when you decide to use them for business, you have to do it properly to really get the ROI – otherwise its almost not worth doing…

  5. Chris Reed says:

    You’re spot on that it’s harder for big organisations to change, but I think they are doing so. Certainly I’m seeing that there’s more recognition than a year ago that they need to. It’s just that the internal structures needs to change to acccommodate it first of all. Which does take time, as you say.
    So yes – still some way to go…

  6. katie moffat says:

    @Danny oh absolutely don’t get me wrong. I agree with you, I’m talking about businesses who know they should do something, where the listening has been done, the advice given and yet…still..they.just. can’…
    @Chris I’ve seen changes too and definitley more around a general acceptance of ‘we should be doing something’ rather than that translating into (comprehensive) action. Often when they realise what it takes to do it properly (time, resource, buy-in from directors) they get scared. Will Mcinnes put it well the other day, he said something like, “They know it’s important enough to pay attention to but not urgent enough to take action”.

  7. Like you, I’m disappointed that more organisations haven’t completely got on board with social media (which is a term I really dislike by the way).
    However, I’m not too surprised.
    I’ve been marketing online for 13 years now. There are companies that I know have been online for much of that time.
    Yet the majority they still haven’t properly embraced:
    1. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
    2. Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising
    3. Ease of use of their websites (usability)
    4. Conversion marketing
    5. Email marketing
    etc, etc, etc
    Despite billions of pounds having been invested in digital/web/online/call-it-what-you-will-marketing, there’s still a looonnng way to go.
    Oh well, keep us busy I guess ;)

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