Only 1% of SMEs Use Social Media

Can that really be true?Social media and business

Well, it is according to a recent article in The Drum.

Apparently, a recent survey undertaken by TalkTalk Business discovered that only 1% of UK SMEs use social media sites such as Twitter and Linked In to generate new business.

Out of the 500 SMEs surveyed, 43% said they weren’t comfortable using social networking sites.

As a copywriter, I’ve been using social media for a while to offer advice, promote my business and make new contacts. It really isn’t scary – it’s just like chatting with friends.

Finding the comfort zone

Social media allows customers unprecedented access to companies these days. They can instantly send messages, ask queries and make complaints – perhaps that’s part of the problem.

But there really isn’t any reason for companies to be afraid of social media. Used wisely, it can open up new markets and even find new business partners.

Of course, once you put something out on the web, it’s there for good, so any company looking to use social media as part of their marketing must have a strategy in place.

Understanding your social media strategy

The first thing that must happen is for everyone to understand (that includes senior management) that the main goal is not to sell.

Social media is a long term commitment that should add value to your relationships with your customers.

Then you must determine what your goals are – whether you’re using it for PR, customer service or marketing. However you use it, your goals must be SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely).

Of course, not every social media outlet is going to be right for your business, so do your research. Work out where you customers hang out and where your activities will have the greatest impact.

Once you start to use the platform(s) join in the conversation, don’t just lurk on the fringes. Chat with people, answer questions and offer advice. All of these activities will help get you noticed and increase your levels of engagement.

After a while, you may start getting questions coming your way. If you do make sure you answer them. Also, it’s worthwhile bringing your social media activities into the real world by going along to networking events and tweetups so people can put a face to the profile.

One more thing about Twitter, if a specific person within your company runs the account, make sure they sign their name to their tweets, or have their bio on your Twitter page. People like to know who they are tweeting with.

The best way to learn is to do

“Social media can prove invaluable as a new business tool and so it’s worrying to see that so few SMEs are embracing it. Its business benefits range from being able to engage and understand the needs of customers and prospects through to gaining insights into target markets and perceptions of your organisation or brand.

“There’s certainly scope for more SMEs to be educated on how social media channels can be applied to business and ne harnessed to benefit the bottom line.” Paul Lawton, Managing Director of TalkTalk Business.

I couldn’t agree more Paul.

Over to you

Are you one of the 43% or have you embraced social media as part of your marketing strategy?

Leave a comment below and let us know your thoughts.



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#1 David on 05.09.12 at 6:28 pm

I can well believe the results of this survey. I manage a number of SMEs; some use social media to the best of their abilities but others just don’t see any value in it.

I have one client that is an electrician – what on earth would they write about if they had a Facebook page? Fixing someone’s wiring is hardly gripping reading!

#2 Alan Johnston on 05.23.12 at 8:34 pm

I have got to disagree with David, As an online marketing trainer I have not met a company who can not blog about their business, it’s all a matter of why you are in business, is it to pay the rent? then you will hardly ever be inspired to do well. If you are in business because you are passionate about what you do, then you will want to write about your business. The essence of social media is to give tips and information to engage people about your expertise and this is how you endear yourself to the Internet public and after a while you become the expert they turn to turning a stranger into a client!

#3 admin on 05.24.12 at 8:08 am

Hi Alan, thanks for that, some very valid points.

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