By Daniel Hunter

Almost a third of businesses in the UK are yet to develop a social media strategy, according to a new report released this month. Social media has risen in the past year with over two thirds implementing it into their organisations, but alarmingly one third still don’t have a plan in place.

The report, Channel Vision — Version 2.0, put together by design, marketing and print specialists Catalogues 4 Business (C4B) questioned over 100 organisations within the United Kingdom. The report was drawn from a diverse mix of businesses, both B2B and B2C, and a combination of industry sectors.

The low cost options of email marketing and social media are being heavily used within businesses, a respective, 66% and 67%. This rate has increased since last years report by C4B which showed that in 2012 just over half deployed social media.

“Nowadays social media and digital marketing has become such a wide trend and it makes it so shocking that some businesses still haven’t deployed it. You would currently expect all companies to have social media within their mix, and more importantly have a purpose and end goal in mind," Ian Simpson, managing director at C4B commented.

According to the report, social media is the second most popular tool within the marketing mix for businesses. 1 in 5 businesses use photo led social media platforms such as Pinterest and Instagram as a marketing and sales strategy; “This enables the customer to physically see the products or services that are being offered, the same function of catalogues,” adds Ian Simpson.

The report also found that 50% of companies who use social media have a catalogue. Plus 82% of companies, which use email marketing, also have a catalogue.

“Companies which don’t sell via a catalogue but deploy social media, are missing out on key interaction between the two platforms. It is a vital platform to use when interacting with customers. Customers today not only like to see the products and services available to them online but also to have the novelty of physically looking at it on paper," Simpson added.

Another digital platform to be considered is a website, 39% of companies’ websites are not designed to work on mobile devices. The report states that a majority of companies have an information website but only half have e-commerce, a significant 39% are not focused on Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) which means that they are missing out on valuable traffic for their organisation.

The report shows how 1 in 10 companies do not even know their web statistics. A further 15% are unsure how to even measure effectiveness of their website.

“It is vitally important to monitor your website traffic. 1 out of 10 companies not knowing their web statistics is huge. When asked how often the companies look, 7% said never, 6% didn’t even know and a shocking 14% look less than every month. In order to keep your customers happy, you need to know how your website is used, when and why. The same for catalogues, and other offline marketing tools. You need to know what works, otherwise you won’t get anywhere," concluded Simpson.

Questions surrounded their current and future business as well as their sales and marketing plans. Within the report, views of significant players were asked with 13% of those having a turnover in excess of £20 million.

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