US vs UK use of social media as a call to action

 In social media

Being based in the UK, it is hard to understand exactly how the US and UK differ when it comes to social media initiatives, and the embedding of social media into everyday marketing and advertising.

Over the last week, I have been fortunate enough to be in both Seattle and San Francisco to see how social media compares in the US with the UK.

The best indication of the status of social media adoption by a country or region in my mind is how prominent the use of social networks in any call to action.

Shown below are two typical examples from San Francisco.

In the first, a huge (1 story high) digital sign in the Westfield San Francisco Centre proudly displays their social media properties (including foursquare).  In each case you can click the picture for a better view.

The picture below was snapped on the counter of a pasta shop in the food court in the same centre.


If we use the social media call to action metric also for London, we see that the UK is not that far behind (if at all). 

Below is a London underground poster promoting Queen the Musical, complete with the Facebook and Twitter logos.  Where the UK and US do differ in this regard is in the US they put the actual Facebook/Twitter/Foursquare name (knowing it may be difficult to guess it). 

In the example below, you would still have to guess/search for the production.  Perhaps an extra line of copy with the Facebook/Twitter address would help discovery.


Royal Parks also has the Facebook and Twitter logos (but no address) to promote their half marathon.


National Rail has been printing al of their tickets lately with the Twitter logo and @nationalrailenq twitter address – 10 marks out of 10!


Finally, another London tube poster, this time advertising comedian Mark Watson – with his full Twitter address @watsoncomedian


So, in summary the UK does not seem to be too far behind when it comes to using social media as a call to action, however, just putting a Foursquare or Twitter logo is not enough.

You need to make it easy to find the relevant Facebook page or Twitter handle.  It is a bit like putting a picture of the globe and saying “we’re on the www” without putting the web address. 

The US examples above have the Facebook, Twitter, and in Westfield’s case Foursquare address clearly visible.

Make it easy to like and follow and consumers will. Make them work for their loyalty and they may just go somewhere else.

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Futurist Keynote Speaker and former IBM Global Managing Partner, Andrew is a popular and sought-after presenter and commentator on issues around digital disruption and emerging technologies. He is a multiple TEDx & International Keynote Speaker. Watch his speaking showreel here, enquire about availability & fees here or listen to his latest Podcast - "The Practical Futurist Podcast" on your favourite app.

Showing 10 comments
  • AndrewGrill

    Some observations, US vs UK use of social media

  • AlexiaPRGal

    RT @AndrewGrill: some observations, US vs UK use of social media

  • Craig McGill

    Andrew, I would say that you may have a case for London v a major US capital city but it’s a bit of a stretch to say that summarised the UK v US. Northern Ireland and Scotland are certainly nowhere near as joined up as major metropolitan spots like London – in part due to geography, media and less interest.

    But your main point is perfectly valid – a logo alone doesn’t do it, especially if someone has been canny and a competitor has grabbed a similar sounding name on these platforms.

  • Andrew Grill

    Craig, I agree with you on the London vs UK comparison, but what a great opportunity for the rest of the UK to adopt social media. 10 years ago, smaller companies could appear much bigger than they were by getting on the web early. The same can be said for social media. I appreciate you taking the time to read the post and comment.

  • AndrewGrill

    Just back in London from a trip to the US. Read my post on comparisons between social media in the UK vs US

  • DanaAK

    RT @AndrewGrill: just back in London from a trip to the US. Read my post on comparisons between social media in the UK vs US http://lc.t

  • Allan_Blair

    RT @AndrewGrill: just back in London from a trip to the US. Read my post on comparisons between social media in the UK vs US http://lc.t

  • Daniel Appelquist

    Hi Andrew – my perspective is that UK may be ahead of US in some respects when it comes to social media calls to action. For example, hashtags at the beginning of television programs. What do you think?

  • Andrew Grill

    Daniel, I agree – twitter on TV seems to be quite common in the US, but I do see the UK catching up.

  • Dave Marutiak

    The discovery problem/address information for the SNS can be nicely captured via a QR code so users can just click on their camera and add the site to their FB/Twitter friends/follows. Although you run across it occasionally here in the UK, it seems more prevalent in the US.

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