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Social Media Confuses Businesses... Why?

It seems businesses of all sizes are conflicted about how to use social media effectively. In a recent CitiBank/GfK Roper study, about 75 percent of small businesses said that social networks are not working for them.  On the other side of the equation, Gartner says that most Fortune 1000 companies will delve into social media by 2010 but more than half of them will fail.

First of all, small businesses may not clearly understand how social media can help them. Nor, do they know how to measure the impact of social networks.  For instance, friending a brand may not always result in immediate sales. So, the small business reporting that social media doesn't work is probably not giving the program sufficient time to develop.

Additionally, like businesses of all sizes, small businesses have trouble focusing their efforts. They want to jump into Linkedin, Facebook, and Twitter all at once. Now, I believe in utilizing all three of these networks, as does Paul Chaney. However, small businesses should pick one platform that makes the most sense for their customers and master that one before adding another one.

And most of them don't have the necessary resources to make the most of social media.

We've written about this often: strategy should drive tactics, no matter what type of business you run or what type of program you are planning to implement.

Duck Tape Marketing's John Jantsch agrees that the most successful organizations approach social media with a strategic bent. According to Jantsch,

It's about connecting, not automation. The best companies are using the latest communication tools not for automation or as “just another tactic,” but to truly connect and create relationships with customers.

Are you having any luck with your social media forays? Wade into the discussion and let us know.



Join The Conversation

  • Nov 5 Posted 7 years ago SocialSteve

    Actually, I am having success with some small business helping them use a few social media outlets out of the gates (Twitter, FB, LinkedIn, and a few others) in an integrated fashion to create synergies.  While it may be just a little more effort (not much) taking an integrated approach to get each outlet to support the other seems to be easier to understand (and produce visible results) than just taking one on.  IMHO, I don't think there is much value with a focus on just one social media outlet.

    Social Steve

     

  • Nov 5 Posted 7 years ago SocialSteve

    Actually, I am having success with some small business helping them use a few social media outlets out of the gates (Twitter, FB, LinkedIn, and a few others) in an integrated fashion to create synergies.  While it may be just a little more effort (not much) taking an integrated approach to get each outlet to support the other seems to be easier to understand (and produce visible results) than just taking one on.  IMHO, I don't think there is much value with a focus on just one social media outlet.

    Social Steve

     

  • Nov 5 Posted 7 years ago BenHanna

    Interesting discussion.

    To throw more fuel on the fire, we recently completed a study of nearly 3,000 North American business professionals currently using social media to find business-relevant information and/or work for a company involved with social media initatives.

    While this isn't included in the initial Business.com 2009 Business Social Media Benchmark Study report we just released, we're seeing that small businesses that do participate in social  media are finding it easier to see the impact of that participation on business results than larger companies.

    Overall experience with social media for business is reasonably low - 65% of respondents overall have less than 2 years of experience - but the micro business (<10 employees) and small business (10-99 employees) respondents have more experience with business social media initiatives on average than their larger company peers.

    We should have the small business version of our business social media benchmarking study ready in the next few weeks. When available, we'll send out alerts to those who downloaded the top-level report (http://www.business.com/info/business-social-media-benchmark-study) as well as announce via Twitter (http://twitter.com/B2BOnlineMktg) and our blog (http://blogs.business.com/b2b-online-marketing/).

  • Nov 5 Posted 7 years ago KevinHorne

    Different week, same article. Businesses don’t get it, blah blah blah. Here’s a recap of all the presumptions made in this small post and handful of comments:

    are conflicted

    social networks are not working for them

    may not clearly understand

    [don’t] know how to measure the impact

    have trouble focusing their efforts

    don’t have the necessary resources

    need to do "social media" is lost on them

    [weren’t] making the most of the opportunities presented

    are flummoxed


    Wow. The lingering refusal to add “don’t see the value.” Period. Where’s the “confusion” in that ? (see headline)


    Here was a beauty quote: “don't understand that it takes time to build and nurture relationships.” Geez, that’s all small businesses do all day long, all week long, all year long. They just don’t do it on Twitter, sorry. Go talk to some folks running small financial advisory firms.


    And then this one had me rolling all over the floor: “[they] want to jump into Linkedin, Facebook, and Twitter all at once.”  Yeah, because that’s what all the gurus tell them to do. Now all of a sudden it’s the wrong strategy.


    Small businesses don’t do as much email marketing, podcasting, webcasting, viral marketing, etc.,  as the big guys either. Guess they “don’t get that” either.   ;)

  • NeicoleCrepeau's picture
    Nov 4 Posted 7 years ago NeicoleCrepeau

    It does seem that many businesses are flummoxed by social media. It is a new environment, but in many cases if they would apply tried and true sales and marketing principles, they'd find their way. For small businesses, the combination of being cash-strapped and totally busy makes them use social media because it's free, but not invest the time to use it properly.

    I just completed a small survey of Twitter business users, which reveals they aren't even doing basic checks on their customer followers to see if their time investment is paying off. http://bit.ly/2j6iye

  • Nov 4 Posted 7 years ago CathSheldon

    We also surveyed a section of Sage UK customers and found that out of over 4000 of our customers only 8.4% our small business customers were making the most of the opportunities presented by social media to connect with their customers.

    The opportunities for small businesses to have a better understanding of their customers are greater than ever (see my colleague's blog post "are you being social with your crm strategy"), but it’s difficult to get buy in when resources are needed for something that is unlikely to get direct sales.

  • JasonBaer's picture
    Nov 3 Posted 7 years ago JasonBaer I think the key difference is that many small businesses already ARE social, in that they are in touch with their customers, and have some sort of relationship with them. Thus, the need to do "social media" is lost on them at times.

    In many ways, the point of social media is for big companies to start acting like small ones. 

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