Small businesses miss out on export opportunities by overlooking social media

Wed 24 Aug 2016
Posted by: International Trade News
Trade News

Almost three quarters (72%) of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the UK are missing out on international sales by not using social media to market their goods overseas, a study by Barclays has revealed.
Whilst a number of businesses use social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram to attract domestic sales, they
could be missing a key export opportunity to boost not only brand awareness, but market share and profitability by not ‘internationalising’ their digital channels.

The poll found that while a number of businesses are using online platforms like Facebook and Instagram to attract domestic custom, when asked if they use the same channels to attract overseas customers, this falls by as much as half on average. 

Steve Childs, head of international at Barclays Business, said: “A website or Instagram page can be your shop window to the world, delivering growth and bigger market share with minimal costs. 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. Worse still, by not understanding your target market you could even be putting off customers through unintended translation or currency errors”
Mr. Childs continued: “We want to help more businesses start and succeed with exports, which in turn will boost the UK economy.”
Overall, Facebook emerged as the most used channel that SMEs use to market to both domestic and international customers, ahead of their own website:

Top digital channels UK SME use to reach domestic customers

Top digital channels UK SME use to reach international customers

Facebook (66%)

Facebook (31%)

Website (43%)

Website (28%)

Twitter (36%)

Twitter (17%)

LinkedIn (21%)

LinkedIn (12%)

Instagram (16%)

Instagram (10%)

Source: One Poll: 19 – 26 February 2016

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