A study of 250 marketing decision makers in the U.K. conducted by EPiServer found that 68% of businesses have appointed or plan to appoint a social media or online community manager within the next year. The survey, titled "The rise of the community manager," found that 28% already employ a social media or community manager and another 41% expect to hire one in the next 12 months. Almost three-quarters of businesses run online communities or will set them up within the next year.
The survey also asked about the challenges and benefits of social media as a business channel, with respondents citing attracting users, generating social media content, and dealing with online abuse as the biggest difficulties in social media management. But most respondents saw social media as a valuable platform for engaging with current and potential customers, for conducting customer research, and for increasing customer retention. In fact, 43% of respondents said that they had seen increased customer loyalty from social media, and 28% said that a social media presence increased sales turnover.
The full report can be downloaded at www.episerver.com/communitymanager.