I found this article on Eelan Media. Although it is focusing on UK small businesses, the same is true for small businesses in the US. Owners don’t have time to focus on social media marketing. It is very time consuming. That is where Clark Virtual Business Solutions comes in. We take care of your social media management and give you the return on investment that you want.
We partner with your small business and work hand-in-hand with improving your social media marketing.
According to a survey by Sage 51% of UK small business owners use social media for acquiring new customers or generating sales lead, however despite the enthusiasm many are struggling to navigate the online ‘jungle’ and obtain benefits from the growth in social media and its use for marketing. Similar findings were also reflected a recent report published by Manta. 55% of business entrepreneurs they surveyed were using these platforms even though more than 60% of the group said that they were not seeing a return on investment from their online engagement. Clearly from the outside looking it this is not a good signal for those who have a small business and want to gain a competitive advantage via the online market, therefore it is worth taking a closer look at why social media marketing is not working for some companies.
Research indicates that one of the primary reasons why social media is not as productive for small business as many believe is the amount of time small businesses are spending on social media. The Manta’s survey, points out that more than half of small business owners spend less than three hours a week online despite this representing an increase in time from 2012-2013. This statistic has been reinforced by Dave Kerpen, founder and CEO of Likeable Media and author of the New York Times best seller Likeable Social Media, who explains that many small business that are still failing at social media, either do not spend enough productive time on the right platforms to bring about significant results or they spend time doing the wrong things, such as selling before listening. To get the best returns from the time and resources invested in social media it is extremely important that companies set themselves SMART (specific measurable achievable realistic timetabled) targets at the outset, take the time to fully understand the various social networks they intend to engage with and develop different and appropriate information for each of them.
The utilisation of word of mouth marketing, the spreading of valuable information on Twitter, Facebook, and beyond are the central topics of “Likeable Social Media”. In his book, Kerpen contrasts the growing expertise of the consumer, their increasing desire to be heard and the growing popularity of social media with the lack of knowledge amongst small and large corporations many of whom are struggling with the use of social networks in a business environment. Kerpen encourages companies to deliver exciting and attractive online material for their clients and suggests that entrepreneurs should think of Social Media as if it is a cocktail party, where everyone is happy to listen to what others have to say (so long as they are boring and talking about themselves all the time), rather than seeing it as a sale platform.
Kerpen suggest that businesses focus on the following three actions if they want to see an improvement in the return on their investment in social media and build a more active on line community of raving fans:
1) Always start with your current customers. It is far easier to persuade people who have already done business with you to do more. Identify ways to offer incentives for taking action on line e.g. put up signs in your store offering 10% off to those who like you on Facebook, follow you on Twitter etc. Your customers’ friends on their social networks will notice and be encourage to take similar action which this will help generate more qualified fans.
2) Use Facebook’s targeting system to reach people who like things related to your business, products or services. Then keep them on the platform by driving them to like your page rather than your website. Facebook users spend on average 405 minutes per month on the platform so it is much easier to encourage them to take action towards your brand on the site then off it.
3) Share great content with your fans, e.g. pictures of people, videos and comments related to the kind of services you offer. Better yet, ask your customers and fans to share their best photos.
Another reason why social media hasn’t been favourable for some small companies has been put forward by Ted Rubin, social media expert and regular contributor on Mashable. Rubin suggests that being on social media is a patience game and therefore “return on relationship takes time”. In other words companies should focus on building loyal relationships with their clients, answering customer services questions and building a community instead of just seeing these platforms as places to obtain leads.
Both Kerpen and Rubin views are in line with our philosophy at Eelan Media. Customers are the central assets of every business, therefore entrepreneurs should bear in mind that obtaining a return on investment from the online market place (which when translated means happy satisfied customers who buy more) is only sustainable if they embrace the customers needs by implementing what we call the Business HUG strategy. Business HUGs are all about hearing, understanding and giving back incredible value to your customers in a way that makes your company stand out in the crowd.
How is social media working for your business? What tips can you share with other small businesses for getting the best return on social media investment? Please share your thoughts we love reading them