By Max Clarke

69% of UK businesses plan to appoint, or have appointed a dedicated social media strategist to boost the business’ online profile.

“These results clearly show that social media is no longer the new kid on the block,” said Maria Wasing, VP of Marketing Europe & Sales Operations, EPiServer, who conducted the new research.

Marketers were clear that social media needed to be handled with care. The research asked respondents to suggest the most important qualities a social or community manager would ideally need, with enthusiasm, writing ability, experience and patience topping the table. These will be critical when handling the biggest challenges, cited by marketers as attracting members, generating content and dealing with criticism or abuse.

“However,” observed Wasing, “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.”

“As more businesses start to take social media seriously, more will look towards employing community managers to ensure activities hit the mark. As this job function grows in importance, businesses will need to adjust to accommodate this person into the fabric of the company. Social media touches many or all parts of the organisation, from marketing and IT through to customer service and HR. And that’s a good thing, as it forces companies to become more transparent and encourages them to listen to customers in new ways.”

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