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New demand for ‘social media experts’ offers huge opportunity for contractors and freelancers

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OfficeCavalry.com’s 2011 Freelancers Trends Report, which is based on a survey of 1,000 UK businesses, reveals the extent to which social media is expected to boom across the UK’s businesses in 2011, creating new opportunities for freelancers and contractors.

The survey focused on these companies’ planned and current social media activities and unsurprisingly, given the massive growth of social media sites over the past few years, 71% of UK businesses have ambitious to improve their presence across networks such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter in 2011. In fact, 25% of those surveyed viewed this as a business priority.

Whilst the UK lags behind the US, (only half of businesses use social media in the UK compared with 90% in the US), the report predicts a boom in the requirement for ‘social media skills’, with thousands of short term vacancies becoming available in 2011. Of the businesses that said they were aiming to improve their social media presence in 2011, 15% of them will look at creating specific roles for the positions – e.g. a ‘social media manager’ or ‘online reputation manager’, and 65% of them would consider hiring freelancers and contractors for the role, to give them a more flexible solution to meet currently unqualified future needs.

Founder of OfficeCavalry.com Andy Turner believes that the predicted social media boom in 2011 will offer plenty of opportunities for freelancers and contractors as thousands of new assignments are created, commenting, “As consumers spend more time online, businesses are looking at ways of changing the way they engage and interact with their customers. The social media boom will fuel economic growth in the British economy as businesses realise the long term economic benefits of engaging with consumers via social media. Social media and online reputation management is changing the way organisations do business; a more agile, cost effective approach that is scalable and responsive to the ever changing social media landscape is required.”

The survey also reveals how social media functions break down among businesses, with 5% having Twitter experts who manage the reputation of their business on Twitter and help to engage and interact with consumers online. And this figure is set to double in 2011.

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