Surely it does! Everyone is talking about it as being the latest thing in marketing especially for small businesses. Millions of people spend hours not just every week, but every day on social media of some form so it must be worth the time spent on it, right?
I have read lots of articles about social media and the number of hours people spend using it every day and it amazes me. Is this really productive time? I struggle to spend a couple of hours a week on it or so I thought until a comment from Jane made me take a step back and look at where I was spending my working day and was surprised to see that I too was spending at least 1 to 2 hours a day on all my social media.
I have spoken to some small business owners recently who told me that ‘social media plays a huge part in their marketing strategy’. So I asked them to tell me how many hours they spent on it and what the financial results were i.e. how many paying customers did it result in? It was interesting that no one could out an actual figure on it and in general the response was that they would reap the rewards in the future.
Yes, I agree that you will not get instant results using social media. It’s all about giving people the opportunity to find out more about you and your products or services and to build trust and a connection that will hopefully bring you sales in the future. However, how can you tell whether you are spending enough time/money or too much time/money on it? This is where I would like to tell you about the results of a recent survey carried out by eMarketer , http://www.emarketer.com/Article.aspx?R=1007956 which shows that only 42% of small business owners who use social media marketing are receiving sales leads from Facebook, 36% from LinkedIn, and 16% from Twitter. I don’t consider that to be very high considering that social media is being sold as an effective marketing strategy! And remember, these percentages are only leads, it doesn’t show what percentage of these leads are actually converted into paying customers! What it does go on to show is what these leads are actually costing small businesses – more than 70% are either losing money or at best just breaking even on their investment in social media. Can these businesses really afford that?
I am not knocking social media per se, far from it but I don’t believe that it can be used as a marketing strategy. Social media was originally set up as a form of social networking, not as an advertising tool, and that is where it works. The best and most effective form of networking is face to face followed by over the phone but when these are not possible, social media provides the answer. It allows you to connect and build a relationship with people through sharing information and contacts and it is this that will ultimately bring you clients and referrals.
In my marketing plan, social media is a sub section of Networking & Referral Building and I hope that this article encourages you to re-consider where it sits in your own marketing plan.
For more on Social Media, keep a look out for next weeks blog post!