by: Matt Rhodes

Two-third of marketers in the UK don’t understand social media, according to a survey from McCann Erickson Bristol.

The survey found that almost two-thirds of marketers in the survey felt that they didn’t understand enough about social media to use it effectively in marketing. Despite this, 86% thought that social media was here to stay.

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This survey does surprise us at FreshNetworks a little. Over the last year we have we have noticed a real change in the market not only in the UK, but across Europe. There is a growing realisation of the power that social media can have in marketing and the role that it can play. Marketers and brands are becoming more innovative and, to some extent, more demanding of agencies like ours in their use of social media marketing.

It is, perhaps, worth exploring the McCann Erickson survey results in more depth. Of particular interest is the social networks where UK marketers say they have a presence - Facebook is, as we might expect, the most popular, but more than one in every four marketers has a presence in Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube as well. This shows that, even if they report that they are not sure how effectively to use social media in marketing, UK marketers are experimenting. And this is one of the first, and probably one of the most important steps. Social networks and online communities are relatively forgiving environments, and they allow you to experiment with a relatively low cost of entry. And in the current economic climate, innovation and experimentation is what counts.

So perhaps the fact that so many UK marketers feel unsure of how to use social media in marketing is not surprising after all. They are experimenting. Find out what works for them and what doesn’t work. Experimenting with different social networks and online communities, and using these for different purposes. This is a good thing. A great thing in fact. And if they don’t know exactly how they can use social media for marketing, the fact that they are experimenting and trying things is what counts.

Social media is new and the way consumers and marketers use it is still developing. We’re all experimenting. And that’s what makes it exciting.

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