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BizReport : Social Marketing : November 29, 2008

Need for customer engagement drives social media uptake

In an era where price sensitivity, a focus on quality and intolerance for bad customer service reign, marketers must find new ways to interact with and retain customers. Social media fits the bill, with many looking to the channel to improve customer engagement.

by Helen Leggatt

Over half of British companies surveyed for a recent study say they have focused more on customer engagement during the economic downturn, tending toward social media channels such as blogging and user reviews.

The trend is set to continue, found the study conducted by E-consultancy and cScape. Of those respondents considering investing in social media 41% were looking at user reviews, 37% at user-generated content and 36% at blogging and social networks.

Even micro-blogging tools such as Twitter were under consideration, with 7% of companies who have already implemented the channel experiencing improved customer engagement.

Whether or not social networks are a useful component in social media strategies is a contentious issue. Some reports indicate that marketers aren't yet ready to explore this route, and others that Internet users find ads on social networking sites annoying.

One thing is certain and that is the investment in social media to complement customer engagement strategies is set to rise, concluded Linus Gregoriadis, head of research at E-consultancy.

Tags: blogging, customer engagment, e-consultancy, social media, social networks, user reviews

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