UK tech firms flock to Facebook, but study suggests less than a third actually use it

UK tech firms flock to Facebook, but study suggests less than a third actually use it

A new study suggests that whilst uptake of social media amongst UK tech companies is strong, less than a third of companies are actually using it to engage with customers.

Tech PR firm EML Wildfire has released a report which indicates that only 31% of brands with a Facebook account use it to engage with users. Over on Twitter, only 14% of tweets were replies and retweets, suggesting that most activity is ‘outbound’ push marketing, rather than engagement. And what about blogging? Well, only a fifth of companies received comments, with only one of the firms surveyed bothering to reply to the comments it received.

EML selected companies from the 2010 Deloitte Fast Tech 50 list which, for the uninitiated, is a compendium of the fastest growing UK tech firms – it includes companies such as Lovefilm, Skyscanner and Hostelbookers. Each company was subjected to the same analysis process, looking at what the companies were saying and doing on the social channels as well as how often they engaged.

Linkedin usage sits at 92%, up from 72% last year, making it the most popular social network by tech companies in the UK. This is followed by Twitter at 80%, whilst YouTube remained the least popular for the second year running (44%).

Despite the apparent lack of engagement, Facebook uptake by all companies rose from 40% in 2010 to 70% in 2011. But as was suggested by the shortage of @replies and retweets on Twitter, it seems that many companies are failing to properly engage, choosing to ‘broadcast’ company communications, be it through blogging, Twitter or Facebook. The report found that 65% of companies with a Facebook page used it for one-way communications.

B2B v B2C

Of course, if you split up the B2C and B2B, the story is slightly different. The study found that B2C brands were far more likely to engage with users than B2B companies. Of the B2C companies with a Facebook page (100%, incidentally), 63% used it to engage with consumers compared to just 22% of B2B companies. And, while the percentage of B2B tweets that were replies was only 7%, B2C rated a little higher (35%).

“The vast majority of businesses we speak to now accept that social media is something they should be doing”, says Debby Penton, Director at EML Wildfire. “But we are still seeing confusion about how to approach these new channels and get the best out of them. It is therefore no surprise to see even some of the UK’s most successful tech businesses still struggling to adjust and approaching the situation with ‘old media’ mindsets.”

You can download the full How social are you? report from EML Wildfire’s website, where you’ll need to submit your email address to gain access.

What do you think – are tech firms still to properly embrace the social media revolution, and are many of the efforts superficial? Leave your comments below.

Read next: NYT: A Siri controlled television is a "guaranteed product for Apple"