It’s expected that Facebook will touch the one billion users mark later this year. Twitter and LinkedIn continue to grow at a phenomenal rate as well. On the other hand, experimental social networks such as Quora and Pinterest have gained acceptance as well. While there’s no doubt that social media is gaining mainstream traction in our personal lives as well as business, there’s no hiding the fact that several small businesses still shy away from social networks for a variety of reasons.
To that effect, I’ve always wondered what’s taking the so-called social media revolution so long to arrive in the segment which needs it most – small and medium businesses (SMBs).
The 2012 Yellow Social Media Report Findings
Published by Sweeney Research, on behalf of the Yellow Pages and AIMIA, the 2012 Yellow Social Media Report indicates that only 28 per cent of small businesses and 24 per cent medium business actively monitor what kind of return they will receive from investing in social media. What’s worse – nearly quarter of small businesses do not have a strategy in place to harness social media to drive traffic to their website.
To be honest, I’m not surprised with those findings. Over the last year or so, I’ve written on various aspects of social media usage among SMBs.
Whether it’s ignorance or otherwise, most SMBs unfortunately adopt social media without a strategy in place. In the past, I’ve often emphasized upon the importance of building and adopting a social media strategy that works. Last year, I wrote several posts to uncover why businesses must formulate and practice a social media strategy that works. Whether it’s measuring the ROI on your social media efforts or saving a dying business with social media, building a social media strategy is one of the basic building blocks to leveraging social media for your business.
A social media strategy is only as good as those who see it through. Once you have a social media marketing strategy in place, it’s important to focus on getting the execution right. Very often, businesses need to take a call on whether they can execute their social media strategy themselves or do they need to hire specialist social media experts? When in doubt, seek help from an expert. Since SMBs often operate on a limited budget, they shy away from soliciting the services of social media experts as they view it as an additional cost.
Most SMBs follow a simple rule when it comes to adopting new technologies or paradigms – If it boosts my business’ ROI, it’s worth the investment. Social Media is no exception to this rule. Unless, businesses see value addition from social media, they are not going to take the plunge. Therefore, it’s important for businesses to evaluate the impact of their social media efforts.
Evaluating social media ROI is easier said than done. There’s no single criteria based on which you can determine the success/ failure of your social media strategy. For an in-depth analysis of how you can measure your social media ROI, read this post.
What’s your thought on the slow adoption of social media in the small business world? Please share your views by leaving a comment.