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76% of online firms use social media

19 Sep 2011 10:27 BST Back
76% of online firms use social media

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Three-quarters of online businesses are using social media to talk to customers and drive sales, according to new research.

The SagePay 2011 e-business benchmark report, due to be published on 21 September, found that twice as many e-tailers are using Twitter as the same time last year.

Three-quarters (76%) of respondents saying they were using the micro-blogging site.

Facebook use has also grown significantly – 76% have their own Facebook page, representing an 18% increase on 2010.

The survey results are based on research conducted between May and June 2011 of more than 1,000 British and Irish online businesses.

Online companies are also enjoying healthy sales, reporting an average sales growth of 49%. And 57% of them are exporting products and services overseas.

However, online businesses have yet to embrace the mobile – only 5% have a mobile app.

Saying that, 30% plan to introduce one in the long term and less than a third (27%) said that m-commerce was irrelevant for their business.

In an Internet Retailing report, Simon Black, managing director of SagePay said: “What we are seeing this year is a huge amount of interest and a certain degree of hype around mobile commerce.

“While some early adopters are seeing success, a lot of businesses have opted to play a waiting game while they decide how best to implement their m-commerce strategy. Service providers need to offer the flexibility needed to help these businesses take full advantage of new technologies.”

The survey results come at a time when chief executive of WPP, Sir Martin Sorrell, has expressed doubt over the monetary value of social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook.

Speaking at the Royal Television Society Cambridge Convention on 16 September, he admitted that social media was an “extremely powerful way of building brands, building trust and building reputation”.

However, he warned of over-monetising it. “I’m concerned about when you monetise it [social media] because by its nature it’s me talking to you electronically, digitally. If I’m taling to you and I send you a commercial message how do you feel about that? If I say ‘buy this’ or ‘do that’, it’s not the right context.”

But he did accept that he might be mistaken. “Somebody asked me whether I thought Facebook was worth $15bn and I said no. It just shows how stupid I am because it's now being talked about at $100bn so what do I know?"

Posted by

Neil Turner

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