Delving Deeper Into Social Media US vs UK

Today we have the luxury of continuous communication wherever we may be in the world. For many global businesses the need for communication and understanding outside of our organisational origin and across borders is now paramount. Two major countries that are at the forefront of the globally connected world are the United Kingdom and the United States of America. There are many cultural and municipal differences between UK and US, however there are many similarities.

With the rapidly evolving digital landscape, social networking has become an essential platform to effortlessly share information and connect with others regardless of their physical location. According to a 2017 study conducted by Worldwide EMarketer, the total estimated number of global social media users is 2.46 billion.  That’s around a third of Earth’s entire population! Social media penetration is especially high in both the US and UK markets. A further study by EConsultancy suggests 87% of British and 92% of American Internet users have an active social media account. However, there is a distinct difference between the two countries when it comes to business use, with only 40% of UK small and medium-sized enterprises using social networks compared to 81% in the US.

Geography, cultural norms, access to technology, and popular trends all influence how people across the globe engage in social media. Yet another study conducted by 360i explored the role culture has on how people in the UK and the US engage with Twitter. The findings revealed that, “Twitter has a total of 12.6 million users in the UK and 69 million in the US.” It also found that brand mentions made up a relatively small proportion of the Twitter conversations in both US and UK markets. In the UK, when a brand was mentioned it was usually to share a specific experience the user had in relation to quality or customer service. While in the US, brands were more likely to be mentioned in a negative context. The study went on to say, UK users flocked to Twitter to seek connection and conversation with 67% of the tweets sampled being part of an ongoing conversation among users. On the other hand, US users were 82 % more likely to re-tweet content, with their primary motivation being validation and self-expression. Based on these finding there are distinct differences between the two markets. However, it is important for both UK and US B2B industries to engage regularly with mentions and conversations to address concerns such as consumer grievance, intent to purchase or an influential opinion, in order to build their brand and add value.

According to CNN, “social media has created a participation culture. We no longer merely watch and consume culture. We create, share and interact with it. Steve Jobs laid the groundwork… the iPhone truly ushered in the age of social media and allowed us to engage with the Internet and visually interact with each other.” As the communications landscape continues to rapidly evolve, we are expected to build relationships directly with an organization’s audiences through digital media channels such as blogs, social media and newsletters. Its necessary to explore the similarities and differences that exist between the UK and the US to better understand digital marketing, social media, consumer trends, organisational culture and identify areas of opportunity that businesses can expect to face moving forward.

A recent Fortune article noted that Richard Branson, The Virgin Group founder, was the most active business leader on Facebook, posting about five times per day. The successful entrepreneur knows exactly what it takes to maintain brand visibility. He famously said, “Publicity is absolutely critical. A good PR story is infinitely more effective than a front page ad.” This still rings true today. When navigating the crowded media scene the ability to stand out is essential. As innovation marketing professionals we consider the best practices to align with the future of communications to be successful despite the noise of myriad voices.

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