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BizReport : Social Marketing : August 17, 2016

UK SME's failing to engage the world via social

SME's in the UK are not making the most of digital and social media to market their wares abroad, and are missing out on growing their business and market share.

by Helen Leggatt

According to a new study by Barclays, British SMEs are very inward-looking when it comes to their online and social marketing. Most are focused on doing business in the UK because, they say, it's their biggest market and they have no interest, or have not considered, exporting abroad.

The survey of 500 small business owners online revealed the number one reason among small business owners for their limited social media strategies was "what works in the UK will work just as well overseas".

To that end, online social media, such as Facebook and Instagram, is not being put to good use as a "shop window to the world". While two-thirds use Facebook for attracting UK customers, just 31% do so to attract international sales and the same picture emerges with Twitter - 36% use the platform to market themselves to UK consumers but just 17% use it to engage with overseas shoppers. Furthermore, just 28% use a website to attract international sales.

"A website or Instagram page can be your shop window to the world, delivering growth and bigger market share with minimal costs," says Steve Childs, head of international at Barclays Business. "With more consumers shopping online, business owners are missing out on sales if they aren't using or tailoring their digital platforms and targeting international e-marketplaces to attract customers abroad."

Barclays and the Department for International Trade (DIT) have launched two online courses, in line with the government's 'Exporting is Great' programme, to help SMEs develop an international strategy with digital support.

Tags: export, small business trends, social media, UK

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