Although it is certainly a country facing as many economic uncertainties as countless others in today’s world, it’s impossible to deny the opportunities for marketing, promotion and online selling that exist within the United Kingdom.
As the leading country in Europe for e-commerce adoption, and home to over 63 million smartphone users, the UK is a country where confidence in technology and online shopping is at an all time high.
That means that there are remarkable opportunities for social media marketing in the UK to take advantage of – but also added pressure to stand out from the crowd in an ever more populated market.
Understanding the modern British consumer means understanding a number of factors, from the overall philosophy and outlook of the UK population today, to the ongoing ways in which social media is shaping how British people spend their personal and professional lives.
The UK is an extremely diverse country, and that means that marketing needs to be able to adapt to different regional idioms and ways of being – as well as account for how English consumers differ from customers in Scotland, and in turn how those individuals have different needs to Welsh or Northern Irish customers too.
Understanding the psyche of the British consumer
The UK shares a sense of exhaustion and trepidation in the aftermath of the international coronavirus health crisis that echoes much of how the rest of the world currently feels. However, because there is a curious mix of cynicism and humour in how most British people approach life, this means that marketing in this landscape, especially on social media, can be a complicated affair.
In other words, British consumers love marketing that is silly, but don’t want to be made to feel stupid or as though they are watching something childish. They love when content takes a swipe at how bad things are in the world around us, yet can’t stand media that is too morose or depressing.
Social media marketing within such a contrarian psychological landscape can understandably be challenging. However, once you know the hazards to watch out for, you can fine tune your strategy accordingly.
Here are a few examples.
Americanisms in UK social media marketing
Because of a long shared history and, of course, a shared language, the United States has a long history of exporting its media and content out to the UK. This has streamlined more product launches, new services and movie releases than it’s possible to count, but it also comes with some distinct marketing best practices to keep in mind.
People in the UK love a lot of American cinema, TV series, novels and video games, for example, but can be easily worn out by too much American culture that goes with that – especially if it overpowers homegrown UK media too much. In a similar way, social media marketing in the UK cannot simply rely on what’s worked in the United States just because a business doesn’t want to adjust their English written content.
The context of that content is even more important. People in the UK are more reserved and modest than those in the United States, and less keen on sharing their emotional selves. Social media marketing materials that are ‘too Americanised’ will prove exhausting, alienating and even actively repellant to many UK consumers.
This is not a purposeful stance that British people take against Americanised social media content, of course. In fact, it’s often subconscious – people of a given country often prefer the content and media from their own country.
However, keep this in mind if you are tailoring any social media marketing for the UK that uses material that found success in the USA. Make sure to create and write content the British way.
The need for trust and certainty
A challenging few years of political scandals, soaring inflation and an international health crisis has created quite a difficult environment in which to do business in the UK on many levels today. There is a prevailing sense of exhaustion in the UK public that a wise social media marketer will be certain not to lean too heavily on.
Much of this comes from the fact that feelings of security and certainty among the UK population have fallen massively as this new decade has begun. Many people are enormously worried about their financial affairs, and this means that social media marketing promoting what initially seem like old fashioned values – value for money, helping a small business and so on – will actually see remarkable success here.
Consumers in the UK value entrepreneurship, but they also value honesty and trustworthiness. Being such a major country in ecommerce revenues and online lifestyles also means that fraud and cybercrime are massive challenges to UK law enforcement today.
This has created a climate in which UK consumers think twice before making any purchases with any new businesses or products, and a wise social media marketer in the UK is one who can intelligently build trust with buyers to bridge that gap.
Which social media apps are best to market on in the UK?
With around 57 million UK people actively using social media today, there is a vast audience for an intelligent marketer to tap into – especially if much of our above advice is kept in mind.
Of course, correctly deploying a UK social media marketing strategy also demands that you have a good working knowledge of which platforms are seeing the most engagement – which we will explore below.
Facebook is the largest social media platform in the UK
With around 50 million UK users, Facebook is by far and away the largest social media platform in use in Great Britain today. Every age, demographic and cultural background uses this app more or less equally, meaning that this is an excellent platform for broad reaching UK social media marketing campaigns that you want to use to connect with a vast array of users.
However, keep in mind that many UK users, even though they see value in using Facebook, actively mistrust the platform. After all, it was a UK company that created one of Facebook’s biggest data scandals, and the aftermath of it is still being felt today.
With over 35 million users in the UK, Instagram is a popular way for social media marketing in the UK to tap into a truly vast audience.
Naturally, image and video content thrives here, and although it’s a competitive landscape in which to market your products, companies benefit from the superb support of the platform in their outreach efforts – after all, Instagram shares its Meta parent company with Facebook.
LinkedIn is best way to reach B2B audience in the UK
Over 33 million UK citizens use LinkedIn for professional social networking, and they predominantly fall within the 25 – 34 age demographic. In the UK, it’s very common for people to take hard work and their career lives very seriously, and social media marketing in the UK ought to take note of this for two reasons.
Firstly, any UK social media marketing that enhances people doing their jobs easier, earning more money from a promising career move or upskilling to enhance their likelihood of a promotion is likely to do very well in this market.
Secondly, the work ethic in the UK means that people value their leisure time enormously. By framing your UK social media marketing content accordingly, you can see healthy levels of conversion, even among LinkedIn users.
Snapchat offers more integrated advertising options
UK Social media marketing often overlooks Snapchat, but in doing so, they are essentially leaving money on the table. The UK is the world’s fourth largest Snapchat audience, behind only the United States, France and India in terms of number of active users on the platform.
That means there’s a huge number of potential customers ready and waiting for a smart social media strategy to convert. Naturally, this is one of the platforms where being punchy and attention grabbing can have the most success – something of a contrast versus many other social media apps for UK users as far as promotional best practices are concerned.
TikTok is growing rapidly
Many social media marketers have been slower adopting TikTok than they should, and in the UK especially this is very bad news. That’s because the use of TikTok is rapidly growing throughout the UK population, to the extent that this platform is dethroning more established social media apps for British people’s time and attention.
TikTok is still seen as very new and exciting in the UK – a feeling of freshness any platform only gets to enjoy once. That means UK social media marketing can take advantage of this excitement with highly lucrative effect, creating exciting and engaging content that keeps users interested.
Let the experts boost your business
Understanding the complex nature of UK social media marketing may sound daunting, but the truth is that it’s not an undertaking you need to make alone. Even the most well established brands often benefit from the deep expertise and capabilities offered by a UK social media marketing specialist – freeing up your time to focus on other areas of business growth.
One of the pillars at gaasly is our Social Media Marketing Agency in the UK market.