A new report into the use of social media among the UK’s top 50 tech companies has found that while usage has increased since 2011, engagement levels have actually fallen.
EML Wildfire’s study found that LinkedIn proved to be the most popular social network, with 98% of companies in the study having registered an account, compared to 82% on Twitter and 68% on Facebook.
Interestingly, Facebook usage has actually dropped slightly from 70% in 2011 and would have fallen further had it not been for B2B businesses.
In the 2010 and 2011 reports 100% of B2C companies used Facebook, however this fell to 83% in 2012, while B2B usage increased from 32% in 2010 to 65% this year.
The report takes a look at each of the main social networks in more detail; here are some of the key findings...
Though Twitter offers one of the most effective channels for communicating with customers, only a quarter (24%) of businesses use it as a tool for building conversations with consumers, journalists and other companies.
In percentage terms, this is a fairly significant drop from 68% of businesses in 2011.
Almost half of companies (46%) use Twitter for one way marketing communications, which misses the point of the social network entirely and means they will fail to get the most out of it.
Similarly, just 4% of companies use Twitter for customer service, but 12% use it as a recruitment tool. In fact one company on the list uses Twitter exclusively as a way of finding new staff.
B2C companies remain marginally better at using Twitter as a social tool - an average of 36% of tweets from B2C companies were social compared to 17% from B2B brands.
As mentioned, the number of businesses using Facebook has dropped this year, particularly among B2C companies.
But even those with accounts aren’t really using Facebook for marketing or communication – the report found that only one company had a wall that could be described as active, despite an average fan base of 2,625 ‘likes’.
Furthermore, just 38% of businesses even attempted to use the social network for engaging with customers and journalists.
The report also states that engagement has increased alongside usage among B2B brands, from 5% in 2010 to 36% in 2012.
There was a decline in B2B companies using Facebook to post related articles and content (36%), but a rise in posting business reports and updates with 64% of B2B companies using Facebook in this way.
At Econsultancy our blog is easily our main source of traffic, yet just 28% of companies in the report currently maintain a blog. This has halved from a high of 50% in 2011.
However, companies are now updating their blogs more often than in previous years, moving away from monthly to weekly updates.
Similarly, content is now far more varied with the majority blogging about opinion/thought leadership topics (86%), tips and advice for their customers (64%), company related information (64%) and relevant industry news (50%).
Despite being the most popular social network among tech companies, relatively few of the businesses included in the report update their account on a regular basis.
Just under half (49%) have an embedded newsfeed detailing their latest activity and only 22% use it to list their job vacancies.
However listing of services and products are generally more complete, with 57% having completed this section to some degree.
Despite the importance of G+ for search and other Google tools such as author markup, fewer than half (42%) of the businesses surveyed have an account.
Of this total, only 43% are active, which raises questions over whether the social network has any genuine longevity.
It has proved to be more popular among B2C companies, with 66% having a presence and 38% trying to engage their user base.
On average, brands on G+ have just 78 followers compared to 2,625 on Facebook.