Social Media Marketing: To Use or Not to Use? That Is the Question
Of course small and micro businesses should be using social media marketing as part of their promotional activity!
But, other online and offline promotional activities shouldn’t be ignored; you need to use the most appropriate marketing methods to reach your identified target customer.
I think using social media marketing is a must for small and micro businesses because:
- It can make your message travel further, to a greater number of people
- It can give you and your business more credibility, which builds trust
- You can be more engaged and communicate more easily with your audience
- All of this at a fraction of the cost of many offline marketing activities
In my experience of working with small and micro business owners, many of them aren’t using social media marketing very well, which can cause more problems than not using it at all.
What I mean by this is, they’re not using these fantastic resources in a systematic or planned way; they’re not measuring outcomes or embedding their social media activity into well-developed marketing campaigns.
At its core marketing promotion is about eliciting a measurable response from a target audience.
Many small and micro businesses are doing what I describe as ‘broadcast’ – sending out lots of messages and information about their products, services or themselves – without embedding a strong, measurable call to action that pulls their target customers in and prompts them to take action.
So, it was interesting to see some statistics that can help small businesses understand why they need to see their online activity and social media marketing as such an important activity.
In 2016 Time Warner Business Class carried out the Small Business Technology Impact Study which provided masses of really useful data on what defines good, useful and successful small business social media marketing activity. It also provided analysis of the ways in which customers make decisions about which businesses they choose to buy from.
What the Survey Discovered About Small Business Social Media Marketing
Here are some of the ‘headline’ statistics from the 2016 Small Business Technology Impact Study – think about how some of these figures may apply to your business!
Investing in Social Media Marketing
20% of small businesses have no plans to invest in social media marketing of any kind.
With the organic reach of social posts dropping like a stone since the introduction of paid-for advertising on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, simply relying on regular posting will just not get your marketing message in front of enough of your potential customers.
Also, struggling on using social media marketing platforms that you don’t know how to use, or don’t like using, could have a damaging effect. In this case, investing in some social media marketing support or training should be considered. Remember “do what you do best, and outsource the rest”.
A Website vs a Facebook Page
The statistics show that if you are wondering whether you should have a website or a Facebook Page – go for the website. Up to 50% of people surveyed said that they would think twice about buying from a small business that didn’t have a website, with only 30% feeling the same about Facebook.
Over 40% of small business owners have made use of fewer than two applications to manage their customer engagement. This means, the survey found, that these small businesses were not keeping / managing / storing their customers contact details to refer to at a later date. In marketing terms this is business-suicide; it’s seven times more expensive to attract a new customer then it is to encourage a past customer to re-purchase.
Continuous engagement with past customers is crucial to the growth and survival of any business, and social media marketing tools make it so much easier- even if it’s a simple as regularly reviewing your email marketing list.
[And, if you haven’t got one of these, we need to talk!]
60% of small businesses do have a social media presence, but fewer than 50% of them are doing other things to generate leads, such a blogging, creating lead magnets, producing e-books etc.
This lack of a systematic approach to lead generation via social media marketing will have an impact on the sustainability and growth of any small business.
There is a growing need for the small business owner to become the ‘face’ of the business. Customers want to feel they are communicating with the business owner, not the characterless switchboard or call centre they are faced with when dealing with larger businesses. In the 18 to 34-year-old age group 73% of those surveyed want to see a business owner’s photo and the company’s story on its website, while 63% of people 55- years and older feel that the owner’s photo and company’s story is important.
Dealing with Comments and Reviews
Customer engagement and feedback was another hot-spot area. 20% of people will avoid a small business that doesn’t quickly deal with, or respond to, negative online comments.