UK plc desperately seeking social media consultants

Demand for Facebook advisers and Twitter gurus is rocketing...

Demand for Facebook advisers and Twitter gurus is rocketing...

Demand for social media consultants is rising sharply in the UK, according to PeoplePerHour.com.

The freelance jobs marketplace said job postings for Facebook advisers, Twitter gurus and YouTube experts who can advise businesses on how to make better use of social media services to boost sales and marketing have leapt more than 300 per cent this year, as businesses look to ramp up their social media presence.

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More UK businesses are seeking guidance on social media
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"We're seeing increasing demand for social media experts to oversee the Twitter feeds and Facebook pages of a very wide variety of companies," noted PeoplePerHour.com founder Xenios Thrasyvoulou in a statement.

"It's a profession that's likely to continue to grow," he predicted.

Businesses in the US are already streets ahead of their UK counterparts when it comes to social media, according to Tony Wood, a freelance social media consultant, although he conceded that UK plc's attention to social media detail is "improving rapidly".

Wood reckons the UK is six to 12 months behind companies across the pond. "In the US, around 90 per cent of the top companies are really serious about social media and have invested in the infrastructure to make things happen," he said in a statement

Only about half of the FTSE 100 companies are "proactively" engaging with the likes of Facebook and Twitter, according to Woods, while in the small business sector that proportion drops to about a quarter.

In related news, a survey into social media and online PR spending in the UK and US predicts investment will rise next year.

The vast majority - 83 per cent - of the companies polled by Econsultancy and bigmouthmedia said they expect social media spending to increase over the next year. However the amount being spent remains very modest in real terms, according to the report, with close to a third - 28 per cent - of polled businesses not spending anything on social media marketing, and a further third claiming to invest less than £5,000 per year.

In addition, almost a third - 29 per cent - of companies polled said they do not have any in-house staff dedicated to social media marketing.

"2010 has been a year in which companies have tried to become more focused in their social media marketing activity," noted Econsultancy research director Linus Gregoriadis in a statement. "Much of their activity is concentrated on the use of Twitter and Facebook, with the vast majority of companies... using these sites as part of their social media strategy."

Gregoriadis added that companies are using Facebook and Twitter for a range of business functions - including marketing, sales, customer service and product development.

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