By Daniel Hunter

Research released by EPiServer has revealed that only one in ten UK businesses effectively measures the ROI of their social media outreach, in spite of the fact that more than half have increased their investment in social media over the last twelve months.

All figures point towards continued growth of the uptake of social media by British brands, however the vast majority are still clearly struggling to measure its impact.

The EPiServer study, Tackling the social challenge, reveals the opinions of 250 UK marketing decision makers and offers a full overview of participation on social media channels and communities by UK businesses.

Social growth

Over the past year, almost a third (29%) of UK businesses have set up a new social media channel and 52% have increased the amount of time dedicated to managing social media. One in five also expect to further increase their social media investment in the next 12 months.

Despite the fact few businesses are measuring their ROI effectively, many companies said that they have seen tangible benefits from their social media outreach. A quarter of businesses reported that they have seen an increase in website traffic, while one in five (21%) attribute an increased sales turnover to the active use of social media. Just under a third (30%) also said they’ve experienced increased customer loyalty, and 31% report heightened customer engagement.

Managing social media channels

With an array of online communities, forums and channels for brands to take advantage of, many businesses are looking at implementing simultaneous outreach on multiple platforms. Facebook (65%) and Twitter (60%) are the most popular channels, but around a quarter of companies are currently managing more than one account on each. Marketers now spend an average of an hour a day managing social media, with only 6% managing multiple channels centrally.

The role of a community or social media manager is something companies are starting to consider but, similar to last year, they have largely failed to appoint dedicated managers. Only 22% have a social media or community manager in place.

“While an increasing number of businesses are embracing social media, there are clearly areas for improvement if they are to take full advantage," Maria Wasing, VP of Marketing Europe & Sales Operations, EPiServer, said.

"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.

“The key to effective measurement lies in keeping it simple to manage. Many companies are overwhelmed with having multiple social media channels to maintain simultaneously, and just keeping them operational can be time-consuming.

"With the right tools though, businesses could be managing all of their channels through a single interface, with segmentation and measurement tools all included in the same dashboard."

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