Figures released this week by insurance company “Insurantz.com” were widely reported in a number of publications. Their survey of 1,000 UK SMEs has revealed that only 16% of them had a company Facebook or Twitter account. Considering the amount of press coverage that social media receives and the level of emphasis that is placed upon it by marketing experts worldwide, this seems like a very low figure.
Social network websites receive millions of visitors every single day, so for small businesses to overlook this is rather short-sighted of them. Social media is now considered to be one of the best ways that a small business can connect with their market without spending a fortune on advertising. There are numerous success stories of small businesses that have used social media to great success in reaching new and existing customers.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the small business owners that have embraced social media are generally under the age of 30. Nearly a quarter of SME owners aged 18-21 see social media as an essential part of marketing, while less then one in ten over the age of forty shared this opinion. This suggests that social media will likely be a daily part of the lives of the majority of SMEs going forward into the future and not just the novelty that it appears to be at the moment.
The companies that are not currently using social media cited a general lack of understanding as the excuse. This shows that more education about the social media phenomenon is required before it will gain greater acceptance in the small business community. Of the small businesses that do use social media heavily, 65% say that they are yet to see any benefit from it at all. This begs the question: are the criticisms of social media valid, or are small businesses just doing it wrong?
We’d love to hear about your experiences using social media to promote your small business. Let us know how you have found it so far.