Medium to large-sized business in the U.K. are ready to spend at least as much money next year as they did this year on their social media strategy, according to a report from the Royal Bank of Scotland.
Nearly nine out of 10 corporations spoken to said that they would maintain the budget or spend more on social media in 2012 in the survey of more than 200 finance directors, COOs, CFOs, CEOs and treasurers polled in between Oct. 11-26.
The results came out this week and showed that companies in the U.K. that have revenue above $40 million considered social media a cost-effective communication tool and 39% even stated that it helped improve the company reputation.
“UK businesses clearly understand the importance of social media,” said John Dixon, head of technology, media and telecoms from Royal Bank of Scotland CIB, in a statement. “It is an effective and cost-effective tool, and its increased popularity comes at a time of increased pressures on marketing. The challenge is for firms to maximize their investments beyond 2012.”
Approximately half of the 13% of companies looking to cut social media spending in 2012 are doing so because of budget restrictions, and 27% are making the cut because they saw no return on investment.
The study also looked at the role of tablets in business -- finding that iPads and similar devices are growing in popularity with senior executives.
Approximately 47% of senior management regularly use an iPad for business or in the office. Just under a quarter of executives use tablets to access business programs -- that number increases to 35% for the company CEOs.
Earlier this year, major advertisers began really shift significant dollars into Facebook and other social sites to grow brand awareness where all those eyes were: on social networks. Research firm eMarketer estimated that Facebook display advertising revenues would grow 80.9% this year to $2.19 billion, giving Facebook 21.6% of all online display advertising – up from 13.6% in 2010.
While not all social media money goes toward advertising, the growth of marketing opportunities on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn does become a force that can't be ignored, especially for the medium and large businesses that depend on brand awareness.