10 Key Stats from the Optix Solutions Social Media Survey 2010 (UK)

On Monday, I came across one this tweet from Chris Brogan:
@Chrisbrogan: I helped with this social media survey, if you’re interested in the results –

That is how I found out about the interesting Social Media Survey 2010 from Optix Solutions in the UK.

SocialMediaSurvey2010Contributors – Experts
Optix did a great job involving some of the best thought leaders in the space, based in the US:
Chris Brogan, President and CEO at   Human Business Works
Scott Gould, Co-founder at  Like Minds
Olivier Blanchard, Principal at  BrandBuilder Marketing
Trey Pennington, Agency Principal at Trey Pennington, LLC

And a couple of social media experts from the UK:
Julian Summerhayes, Social Media Consultant at Julian Summerhayes
Garry Mackay, Partner at   Ashfords LLP

It will guarantee a great level of buzz online, and a significant increase of the number of followers for @OptixSolutions and traffic to the survey page. I invite you to check the conversation on twitter, using the hashtag#smsurvey.

Contributors – Respondents
The most popular sectors for respondents were Media, Creative, Marketing, PR and Advertising, followed closely by Management, Non Profit, IT, Recruitment and Retail. 51% of respondents reported having less than 100 customers, while 49% reported having over 100 customers, reflective of the power Social Media has to engage with audiences of all sizes.

I find it excellent that Optix shared the contact details for a fair number of respondents. It demonstrates the importance of being as open and transparent as possible, and how critical it is to reward people for their contribution, here by giving them more visibility.

Not surprisingly, most of the respondents work for small businesses. It is a shame so few large organizations took the time to take part to this initiative. I would love to find out which large UK companies are represented there.

Key Results
On Visible Banking, we keep track of social media in Finance (banking, financial services, insurance), monitoring over 2,400 initiatives launched by financial institutions in 65+ countries on twitterfacebookyoutubeblogs.

Banking concerns every single individual and company, in B2C, B2B, B2B2C, and our team are always keen to better understand how our clients’ clients are embracing social media. And in this case, we are also a SME which happened to be based in the UK! 😉

SMEs Need Social Media
I have always insisted on the importance of social media for small businesses. Even though it is true that small companies have a lower cost structure, they also have a limited marketing budget and limited resources. Most of them don’t have a proper marketing function. It is critical for them to build their reputation and generate qualified leads in a cost effective way.

Entrepreneurs haven’t much time left at the end of the day, but they are prepared to spend time online as long as they understand the value of the service, and they are rewarded for their contribution. This is precisely why linkedin is so successful and useful and why professionals are prepared to spend significant amount of time updating their profile, inviting their contacts, responding to questions. They expect to build their reputation and create opportunities for themselves and for their company.

Online Communities for SMEs
In the last three years, most of the online communities launched by financial institutions all over the world targeted the entrepreneurs and the small businesses:
Fortis’ (launched in 2007, and offline since January 2009),
Bank of America’s small business online community,
American Express’ OPEN Forum,
ANZ’s The SB Hub,
ABN AMRO’s flametree (offline since January 2010)…

My Comments
Please find below our selection of 10 of the key findings from the study.

* 75% spend under £500 per month for social media
It seems like a small number, but we are talking about SMEs. Moreover, I believe it doesn’t include time allocated to monitor and produce content.

* 74% don’t have a social media policy for staff
Again, most of the companies represented in this survey have less than 10 employees. Let’s not find the best ways to slow social media adoption. Formal guidelines and policies are needed, but in much larger organizations.

* 73% linkedin, 57% facebook, 57% twitter (up to 1h spent on, every day)
Those figures show that 1. most of the respondents work for SMEs, 2. a huge proportion of the respondents are focused on identifying good prospects and building new client relationships. We are talking new business here. Linkedin is a goldmine of contacts, and could become your most precious lead generation tool, as long as you use it well and you know how to connect with fellow networks you have never met before.

* 71% lack of resource time (main reason for not participating)
I personnally believe that social media is not necesseraly a full time job. Start with the basics such as setting up basic processes and alerts for online conversation monitoring, build a presence on popular networks such as twitter or facebook, grow your network on linkedin after every single business meeting.
Yes, it takes time to reach a critical size and better understand how to commmunicate on those new channels.

* 60% use social media to find new customers
Again, I can’t help to think that this proportion should be bigger. Indeed, most companies I came across see social media as a great way to sell more products and services. It is not the right way to apprehend social media at all.
Interacting on communities such as twitter or facebook gives companies, big or small, a perfect opportunity to support their clients via some active listening, turn angry customers into brand advocates and change brand perception, increase customer advocacy, improve your products… Eventually, yes eventually, you will drive more business. More business not only from new client relationships, but from your existing client base.

* 57% have started using social media in the last 12 months
It doesn’t come as a surprise. Companies must start embracing social media asap. It takes time to understand where to focus your attention, how to engage with your market and adapt your tone of voice online.

* 56% respondent are self taught, only 7% spent £500 or more to training
I believe this is THE key mistake and definitely one of the key learnings from the survey.
I am strongly against outsourcing all your social media effort to an agency. To the contrary, you must build your “expertise” and spread your knowledge internally. Companies must adapt themselves and give their employees the opportunity to reach out to their customers how, where, and when the customers want. It is all about meeting your client’s higher and higher level of expectations.

Focus on your growing your business. You are on linkedin, you are using facebook a few times a week, or you have an inactive account on twitter, doesn’t mean you understand social media. Make sure to learn about the best and worst initiatives in your industry, and ask an expert to guide you and show you how to identify your key influencers and build an effective content strategy.

* 47% do not measure their social media ROI
This is a great find! So, what is all the fuss about ROI? 😉
Social Media and User Generated Content give companies, financial institutions included, access to an enomous amount of new, more relevant, “current” insights from the market, in real time.
The industry must appreciate the necessity of embracing social media to engage with their clients (B2C, B2B, B2B2C) who are already actively participating on communities such as twitter or facebook.

ExamplesRiskDamageMoreover, the risk of not embracing social media is considerable, and should be compelling to most financial institutions and companies.
We have lots of “good” examples in the financial services industry from HSBC, BofA, Manu Life, ANZ…

* 40% are planning to allocate new budgets to social media
This is promising, but please be careful how you invest your money. You can achieve a lot with a minimal amount of budget:
* learn how your industry is leveraging social media (good and bad)
* create (free) alerts about your products, your brand, your competitors, your industry
* set up your goals and objectives on linkedin, facebook, twitter
* create your profile with the right level of branding, info and messages
* define the right content strategy (existing content, syntax, frequency, call to action…)
* identify your key influencers
* promote your social media presence on your own online assets

* 32% have a proper social media strategy
Again, this figure seems low. For small businesses, a social media strategy could be based on an active presence on just a couple of online communities and a clever content distribution or relay strategy…

Please call me (0044 7736 446 357), send me an email (, or DM me (@Visible_Banking).

I am keen to talk to you about twitter, customer reviews, and social media in banking, financial services, and insurance.

What do you think?

Written by Christophe Langlois

Based in London for almost a decade, Christophe is an entertaining fintech marketing keynote speaker and a trusted advisor to the global financial services industry on the topics of digital marketing, innovation and B2B social media.

Christophe has contributed to over 140 events in 18 countries.

Currently, Christophe is advising a number of fintech startups on marketing and growth hacking and he is the Chief Marketing Officer of The Fintech Power 50, an exclusive annual programme helping fintech scale-ups to accelerate their growth globally.

Christophe's views on are his own.

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