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Just 34% of brands feature a community on their website, while less than one in five advertise their social media presence prominently on their homepages, according to a new study. 

The Engaged Web Study (registration required) by Episerver finds that many brands are not making the most of online opportunities to engage customers and visitors. 

The report looked at ten companies from eight vertical sectors: Telecoms, Charity, Retail, Sport, Travel, Public Sector, Finance and Utilities, and then scored them against a range of engagement criteria. 

Here are some highlights from the report... 

Communities

Only a third (34%) of the companies studied featured a community on their site, with telecoms brands coming out on top, followed by charities.

Only 44% of companies with a community actually initiate a conversation with visitors, though more respond to queries or questions from users, with 70% actively engaging with users. However, not a single company regularly uploads content to their community.

The report cites the RSPB community as a best practice example, with plenty of features and content to keep users interested. 

Blogging

Company blogs are a great idea for a number of reasons, but it seems that they aren't getting the attention they deserve. 

While 40% of the sites featured a blog, too many were not updated frequently enough, which defeats the object of the blog, as readers will quickly lose interest. 

Only 34% of the blogs studied were updated on a regular basis, while just 19% of brands advertise the blog across the rest of their website.

The results differed between the eight verticals, with every sports websites featuring a blog, while the majority of Travel and community websites also had a blog. 

The report picks out the uSwitch blog as an example of how it should be done, though it isn't promoted prominently enough across the rest of the site. 

Social media

Other studies have found that brands often fail to advertise their social media accounts on their websites, and this study is no different. 

Only 19% of the sites studies display a link to their Facebook page on their homepage, while just 15% advertise their Twitter presence, and 13% any other social network profile. 

Meanwhile, 34% of sites provide links that allow a visitor to ‘share’ content on a social network, but only 16% allow the visitor to rate and tag content.

The report picks out ASOS as a brand with an integrated social media strategy. It promotes its social media presence on the website and has multiple social media accounts.

On Twitter, for example, ASOS has more than 40,000 followers, but more importantly, it uses Twitter to engage with customers, chatting with other Twitter users rather than simply broadcasting latest products and deals. 

Graham Charlton

Published 22 June, 2010 by Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton is the former Editor-in-Chief at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter or connect via Linkedin or Google+

2565 more posts from this author

Comments (3)

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Alex Mifsud, CEO of EntroPay

These findings reflect the widespread feeling amongst marketers that they ‘should’ be getting involved with social media, but pinning down exactly what channels will be most effective and the potential ROI from these activities is a lot more tricky. Some innovative brands are exploring ways to integrate their social media and affiliate marketing programmes to deliver measurable business benefits that will ultimately result in increased traffic and sales. Affiliate management techniques can be adapted by marketers to nurture these relationships efficiently, and to tap successfully into the long tail of micro-affiliates that have emerged from social networking. However, the business case must be proven for social media before we are likely to see a landslide of brands trying to jump on the bandwagon. The question is, by then will it already be too late to get the micro-affiliates’ attention?

about 6 years ago

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Rob

Worth checking out...Results just in The Best Brands in Sheffield, 2010 Over the last six months Web Branding has been exploring the various branding methods utilised in Sheffield in order to find Sheffield's best brands. The competition was open to Businesses, Local Authorities and any organisation with a significant branding presence in the city. Over 100 local brands have been judged. All Organisations have been scored on a number of areas including Web Presence, Brand Recognition and Branding Design. Link to the Site: http://www.webbranding.co.uk/bestBrands/2010/sheffieldsBestBrands2010.asp Or check out the Video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R5fztGbtiVo video resolution goes up to 1080p HD Enjoy..

about 6 years ago

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alex

The recent poor performance of the website Digg could be a harbinger of doom for social media sites. After all the initial fuss people may realise that there is not a lot of substance there?

about 6 years ago

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