According to a study conducted by Webs, and reported in a recent Media Post blog, “Currently 69% of small business owners surveyed by Webs are using social media — including Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and blogs — at their companies; another 13% said they plan to begin using social media in the next three months. In terms of specific platforms, Facebook was the clear leader with 68% of small business owners saying it is the social media tool they use most for their businesses.” These are encouraging figures for marketers who have been promoting the usage of social media sites as an effective way to promote products and services.
On the flip side of these numbers lay the real challenge small business owners face with social media marketing. How do you effectively manage these social media channels to get the most out of your advertising dollar? Unfortunately, the study also uncovered that “Of the small business owners surveyed by Webs, 59% said social media has “not met” or only “slightly met” their expectations as a marketing tool, and 43% said they currently allocate 10% or less of their marketing budgets to social media.” How to bridge the gap between channel presence and channel success is the key for all businesses leveraging social media as a means to promote their brand, specific product, or services. The study has encouraging statistics that illustrate businesses both large and small see the need for a presence in social media. However, just like a company website or even a physical store, the iconic “If you build it, they will come” does not apply.
If you want to be successful in leveraging these social media channels, which by the way have captive audiences in the multi-millions, you need to plan out a specific strategy. Here are just a few things to consider before jumping head first and opening company pages or accounts in Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn for example:
I am simplifying the process here, but only to illustrate why it’s not a surprise 59% of small business owners feel social media marketing has “not met” or only “slightly met” their expectations. You can not expect success without a plan of action and too many small business owners, as evidenced by the aforementioned study, are willing to use social media, but have no strategy to make it work. It’s all in the planning once you make a business decision to branch out into new markets or new marketing channels. Be prepared to take action once you create that social media presence and you will find success tapping into the 600+ million people who use social media channels in their every day lives and who fit your customer demographic.