69 percent of UK businesses say they have hired, or will hire, a social media or community manager this year

According to research carried out by online marketing software vendor, EPiServer, 69 percent of UK businesses intend to recruit a social media or community manager within the next 12 months. As many consumers have embraced social media as their preferred channel for communicating with companies, there’s increasing demand for marketing professionals with the skills to manage these channels for businesses.

The survey found that 73 percent of businesses are either currently managing some kind of online community, or plan to do so within a year. Businesses say that the three biggest challenges they face in social media are:

  • Attracting users (32 percent)
  • Generating content (28 percent)
  • Dealing with abuse (27 percent)

The survey polled 250 marketing decision makers in British businesses. Currently, around half of all social media activity within UK companies is performed by marketing managers, while both public relations and IT departments both claimed a 21 percent share of responsibility.

Maria Wasing, VP of Marketing Europe & Sales Operations at EpiServer said “These results clearly show that social media is no longer the new kid on the block. However, while an increasing number of businesses are embracing social media, there are clearly areas for improvement if they are to take full advantage of these channels. Managing social media can be challenging and time-consuming, so it’s vital to put in place a dedicated resource, along with the right tools and platforms to ensure multiple channels can be updated and managed with ease.”

When asked to list the most important attributes of a specialist to fill this role, the top three answers given were enthusiasm, writing ability and experience. 44 percent of respondents said a key opportunity offered by social media was to properly engage current and potential customers, while customer research (43 percent) and customer retention (36 percent) were also listed as leading reasons to engage with this channel.

Of those companies already using social media, 43 percent said that customer loyalty was a benefit that they were already seeing, and increased sales turnover was cited by 28 percent. Five percent claimed they saw no benefits at all from their social media efforts.

The full report can be downloaded from the company’s website: www.episerver.com/communitymanager

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