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BizReport : Social Marketing : May 17, 2010

Ciao: British businesses embrace honesty of social media

During a recent U.K. event, Internet World, Bing's shopping service and Britain's leading consumer community, Ciao, took the opportunity to quiz advertising and e-commerce professionals about their attitudes toward social media and user generated content.

by Helen Leggatt

Consumers are increasingly sharing their brand and product experiences online, but what does the advertising and marketing fraternity think about it. According to Ciao's recent poll of attendees of Internet World, a U.K. event where advertising and e-commerce professionals get together to share thoughts and insights on their online activity, the majority (75%) were positive and more comfortable about their direct engagement with consumers than they once were.

"The willingness to engage directly with end users has given brands a better insight into consumer priorities," explained Alexander Miller, Team Leader Sales Ciao Advertising UK at Microsoft. "83% of the people we spoke to said that they felt they had developed a good understanding of what motivates their customers as a result of their direct engagement tactics."

A third of those polled said online consumer input had had a positive impact on their business while twice as many had responded to online criticism this year than last. Another significant change from 2009 is the number of businesses who moderate user generated content and criticism aimed at their products or services. While 18% did so in 2009, this year that figure has dropped to just 2%, an indication that advertisers are taking the two mainstays of social media - honesty and transparency - a lot more seriously.

"Honesty and transparency are the bywords of social media and brands who take that on board stand to benefit from a genuine, two-way relationship with their audience," concluded Miller.


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  • Yet another sign that Social Media will be an integral part of business and customer service for many years to come.



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