IAB Engage: One third of UK businesses not confident in social

More than half of UK organisations have adapted their business strategies to become more social, although one third are not confident using it, according to new research by the Internet Advertising Bureau and LBi.

Guy Phillipson: chief executive of IAB
Guy Phillipson: chief executive of IAB

It found that a lack of confidence holds businesses back in social media. While it found 35% of respondents did feel confident communicating to consumers via social media, 36% did not.

Introducing the research Guy Phillipson, chief executive of IAB, said that it was interesting that there is this lack of confidence, despite social media being around since 2004, with Myspace and more recently Twitter and LinkedIn.

This lack of confidence is largely among senior level employees, with those in customer service or PR roles more confident using it.

The research measures the extent to which UK businesses have reshaped their structure and processes for social media. It was carried out by YouGov in September, via an online survey with 645 people at senior manager levels across different sectors.

It found that in the past 12 months, 55% of the interviewees said their company had made changes to become more social, while the rest had made no changes.

While the research showed that just under half (45%) of sales and marketing departments used social media to raise awareness about their brand, only 28% were using it to interact with consumers.

The main barrier to businesses becoming more social was to do with measuring its success and proving the tangible benefits of social media.

One in three (27%) of those surveyed did not know how to measure the success of social media.

It showed that in larger companies, 15% of chief executives were in charge of their social media strategy, compared to 29% in small to medium-sized business chief executives. The remaining 13% said the responsibility of social media did not sit with anyone.

John Monks, head of social business design at LBi, said that investing in becoming social was crucial to the future success of any business.

He said: "While some brands make the use of social channels look effortless, it’s usually because they have invested in creating the necessary structures, processes and internal relationships."

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Digital marketing executives oversee the online marketing strategy for their organisation. They plan and execute digital (including email) marketing campaigns and design, maintain and supply content for the organisation's website(s).