Social Media in UK
Internet penetration in the UK is one of the highest in Europe with nearly 85% of people being connected to the internet. There are increasing numbers of highly connected individuals and organisations who have access to the internet and social media at work, at home and on the move.
In general, British SMEs are quite familiar with the use of social media. In fact, they use a wide range of social media networks for business purposes and acknowledge the way that different networks should be used for specific purposes. Most SMEs are open to developing new skills and acquiring further training.
Legislation covering the use of social media is being developed in the UK and the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) offers guidance, which stipulates that advertisers’ marketing communications on their websites and social networks should follow the same principles as other media.
Private individuals / Students
In the Passport to Trade 2.0 project survey, in the case of students, the most popular social networks are Facebook and YouTube, followed by Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+. There are significant variations in preference of social media between different age groups. Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn for example are used much more by people aged over 35, whereas YouTube is used mostly by people aged between 18 and 35.
Regarding social media etiquette, responses show significant similarities between SMEs and students in the UK. A major difference however, is related to “speaking to people you don’t know” which is seen as acceptable by British SMEs but unacceptable by British students. Therefore, students seem to be more cautious about who they communicate with; a relatively understandable behaviour as they share far more personal information on social media than SMEs.
Students have also mentioned some cultural differences. A relatively common difference can be exemplified by the following quote “I’ve noticed that people from different countries, mainly mainland Europe, don’t use their full names on social media sites like Facebook. Instead, they’ll use abbreviations or a middle name in place of their surname”.
In the UK, social media is increasingly being used by businesses and this was evidenced by the results of the Passport to Trade 2.0 project survey. In fact, British SMEs seem to use a wide range of social networks. Most popular among these are Twitter and LinkedIn, followed closely by Facebook. Due to the high use of Facebook amongst employees it is often blocked in many companies. LinkedIn seems to be particularly useful for companies who are experienced in working with foreign partners and highlights the capacity for international collaborations using social media. The most popular social networks in the UK are:
There are a number of SMEs that do not currently use social media, this again is industry dependent, either because social media is not important to their business, because they don’t know how to use it, or because of a lack of resources.
- The Über-Connected Organization: A Mandate for 2010: http://blogs.hbr.org/cs/2009/11/the_uberconnected_organization.html [en]
- Usage Patterns and Demographics: http://www.newmediatrendwatch.com/markets-by-country/18-uk/148-usage-patterns-and-demographics [en]
- Landmark agreement extends ASA’s digital remit: http://www.asa.org.uk/News-resources/Media-Centre/2010/ASA-digital-remit-extension.aspx [en]
- 15 interesting facts about international social media use: http://econsultancy.com/uk/blog/10955-15-interesting-facts-about-international-social-media-use [en]
- Mashable Business: http://mashable.com/business/ [en]
Search and Social Media Marketing for International Business
Learn how to use social media for business from one of Salford Business School’s latest business management courses. The course was jointly researched by the Passport to Trade 2.0 project team and prepared in collaboration with some of the leading digital marketing agencies in the UK.
This Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) can help businesses and individuals to make the best use of search and social media platforms. The course is called Search and Social Media Marketing for International Business and is applicable to students looking for placements abroad as well as businesses thinking about new trade links; it comprises the following twelve topics:
Before you start the course please complete this short MOOC entrance survey.
How to develop a personal brand online (1/12)
How to use Twitter (2/12)
How to use Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) (3/12)
How to use social media for international business development (4/12)
How to use Facebook (5/12)
How to use YouTube (6/12)
How to use LinkedIn (7/12)
How to use Google+ (8/12)
How to use copywriting online (9/12)
How to stay legal on social media (10/12)
How to use monitoring and reporting (11/12)
How to blog (12/12)
Please complete the MOOC exit survey.