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On Tuesday I provided a presentation to the Revere Chamber of Commerce – here are the slides. My friends at Constant Contact recently published a report on small business usage of social media, taken from a survey of 2000 SMEs. 45 percent of the SMEs surveys said social didn’t take a lot of time to use—up 45 percent since the spring. 81 percent reported using social media to market their businesses, up from 73 percent in the spring. 60 percent of SMEs using Twitter found it to be an effective tool to connect with customers—up 47 percent from the spring.
SMEs are starting to see the value in engaging with customers who post comments on social media platforms. In case you missed them, I also posted some other interesting social media statistics a few weeks back. Luke is the Founder & CEO of Our Social Times, one of the UK’s best known social media agencies, whose clients include The Telegraph Media Group, Orange Business Services, Blue Square and BAT. Our Social Times, in partnership with Constant Contact, have recently been […][Report] How good are UK marketing consultants at promoting themselves? Our Social Times is a boutique social media agency based in Cambridge, UK, providing a range of high-value social media marketing, monitoring and training services. Leave your details and we'll keep you updated about this and future courses (we only email very occasionally).
Although most small businesses believe social media can be an effective marketing tool, very few understand how to master it. This translates into an ineffective strategy that ends up hurting rather than helping business growth.
Below are six reasons social media isn’t working for small business and solutions to help you build meaningful connections and gain new customers.
As much as many companies would like to believe that social media is just a numbers game, the truth is the complete opposite. If you want to establish meaningful connections, you must get into the conversation and stop worrying about the numbers. Whether you’re looking to connect with peers, influencers or consumers, the fastest way I know how to establish rapport is through relationship building.
The key is to not only learn more about your audience, but also gain valuable insight into what makes them tick. If I asked you how you were monitoring your social media mentions, would you have an answer? Not having a system in place to stay in touch across your social channels can (and most likely will) adversely affect the very relationships you are working to build. Use a tool like Sprout Social and their Smart Inbox to monitor what’s being said in and around your business.
Not only should you be able to articulate your value easily, but also in a way that makes sense to your audience. I guarantee that if you can clearly communicate your value, you will inspire engagement and ultimately encourage sales.
Whether you’re shy or concerned about taking a stand, don’t be afraid to put yourself out there.
To better understand what differentiates you from the competition and encourage your audience to take action, answer a few questions. Based on that, doesn’t it make sense to commit to a consistent social media strategy that raises business awareness and allows for improved customer perception? Before you even begin to market you small business using social media, you need to do two things. Since all social media platforms have distinct cultures of their own, your small business needs to optimize content and conversation for each. For example, if you’re a local bakery, your Facebook following might appreciate special offers they’ll only find on your page. To determine how you’ll share content across each social network, look at the who, what, when, where, why and how. Who: Who’s problem are you solving on each social network and who will be connecting with your content? When: When are your fans and followers spending their time on each of your social channels? Why: Why does solving this problem(s) make a difference in the life of your potential client?
How: How is your product or service a benefit and how will you translate that across each specific social network? If you want to build a reputable business through the power of social media and lend credence to your claim as an authority figure, you must commit to staying at the forefront of your consumers mind.
While there’s no one-size fits all solution to social media, there are proven strategies that can help you embrace its benefits.
Enter your name and email to receive a FREE copy of my eBook, "10 Ways to Virtually Crush the Competition" and my weekly newsletter. For the 4th reason, It is really crucial, because the lack of unique personality will not just make your social media account poor but it may also reflect in your business. I honestly think that is the hardest thing to execute when I launch campaigns for companies. I used to think personas for audiences were a complete dud…until I actually used them and they really put things into focus.

Katy went onto explain that when you put a name, interests, dislikes, job, etc, to your audience, it helps to keep your business focused.
You are correct that text only posts don’t typically perform as well as ones that include images. Here’s a great post from Buffer that includes a long list of what to do and not to do on FB to get seen. As you’ve implied, a social media presence is about being social, and not having big numbers.
I will use this article as a reference because I want not just a presence, but to do things as effectively as possible. I’ve grown my small businesses by helping people for free, through my blog and through my social media websites. The majority of the study’s participants were either small business owners or marketers working for small businesses. Get ideas from their experiences and future plans to help you shape your social marketing strategy when you download the report.
Nearly all survey participants use social media and view it as important for their business or company. Ninety-three percent of survey respondents indicated using Facebook for social media marketing. Twitter is gaining on Facebook, however, and with its new advertising opportunities, will be an interesting property to watch over the next year or so. Those in the B2B space give LinkedIn the majority of their attention, but use Facebook and Twitter too, at respectable rates. Thirty-five percent of marketers have no idea whether their Facebook efforts are effective. Facebook’s domination of social media marketing despite the fact that most marketers are uncertain of its impact should concern small businesses.
On the other hand, 44% of survey respondents have been using social media for two years or less. The Social Media Marketing Industry Report also found that, again, despite the cloudiness surrounding Facebook’s effectiveness, 62% plan to increase activities on it. Sixty-eight percent of survey participants indicated they want to learn more about using Facebook for marketing. Because of the crush of responsibilities they have, small business owners worry about the time it takes to keep an audience engaged on social channels. Thirty-three percent of study respondents report that they devote 1 to 5 hours weekly to social media marketing; however, a robust 25% spend 6 to 10 hours each week. One in three respondents spend 5 hours or less on social media, but 63% spend more than that.
As shown in the chart below, solopreneurs and businesses with 2 to 10 people fall mostly in the 1 to 5 or 6 to 10 hours per week category.
Most small businesses spend 6 hours per week or more on social media activities, but a significant amount also spend 11 to 20 hours per week. Whether through social channel engagement, referral source data from Google Analytics or customers sharing in person or by phone how they found the business on social media, business owners and marketers believe social media gets them in front of more and wider audiences.
When tackling your small business’s internet marketing plan, entering the arena of exposure through likes, shares, re-tweets, and re-pins can be overwhelming. The one constant factor in any successful internet marketing plan is the development of a well-crafted program that guides all of your online activities to form a cohesive whole. Also consider your business’s unique identity – which social media networks are your perspective clients using the most? Next, ensure you use the keywords targeted in your SEO research to guide your website content, blogs, and social media plans. Blogging is often the most effective source of new content, which draws people to your site.As you publish your blogs, they become fodder for distribution on your chosen social media networks. If you have a business with visual appeal, and want to start your marketing program with one network, look at starting with Pinterest.
The main point of how to get your content seen is this: This is a game where each medium should be feeding the others, and where all roads lead back to your brand. Join our mailing list, and get free webinar invites and the latest marketing tips delivered to your inbox. The survey found that roughly 60 percent of small businesses respond to all comments on social media platforms, whether those posts are positive or negative.
Having worked with global brands, celebrities, start-ups and SMEs, Luke writes about how social media is changing the world of business. People bond with people, not businesses. In order to create better connections, you need to humanize your business. Take all of the offline goodness that makes your business special and translate it into a vibrant online persona. First, figure out where your target audience is hanging out and secondly, determine what content they’re looking for on each social network?
On the other hand,  your Instagram and Pinterest followers might want pictures of your delicious treats along with recipes and a glimpse into your kitchen. If you’re not leveraging social media to put your product or service in the palm of their hand,  your competition is.
Nowadays, businesses need to be online in the most unique ways to obtain larger traffic, better leads and more profit. I have been pondering a serious business thought for the last 4-6 months and this particular post finally helped me to confirm where my thoughts were headed.

I struggled with the numbers mentality for a while until I asked myself why do I want large followings? Business has become a numbers game, so the mandate from TPTB is that in order to be successful, social must sell. The Smart Inbox makes everything in one and imagine handling over 12 social accounts, it is a HUGE life saver. It’s much the same story for Instagram and Pinterest, both of which doubled their traffic from 2014 to 2015. Specifically, 71% of businesses with 100+ employees use YouTube, compared to 38% of the self-employed. B2B respondents for this survey report that LinkedIn is their number-one choice for social networking. This makes sense because B2B businesses are looking for the marketing people, facilities managers, buyers and others who rely on LinkedIn for industry connections and news. Without the benefit of a marketing team creating a strategy complete with goals and measurement, small businesses have a harder time evaluating marketing efforts.
You’ll see below, too, that 53% plan to increase their ad spend on Facebook this year.
Although Facebook has existed since 2006, many small businesses are still figuring out how to use all of its features to grow their customer base, engagement and more. Tools like Hootsuite and Post Planner cut down on time spent, but social media marketing still requires significant time. Things can get even more confusing, because there isn’t any one thing that will increase each company’s online exposure. Keep in mind that a half-hearted approach, without coordination and focus will lead your company nowhere. If you’re running a veterinary clinic, a Pinterest account featuring clinic pets, or client photo contests will likely be far more effective than a similar amount of time dedicated to maintaining your professional LinkedIn profile.
Make sure that it is following Search Engine Optimization (SEO) best practices to make sure you can be found when prospective clients are searching. Maybe you’re representing a luxury vacation spot, or you’re a vet looking to feature your cute clients? Don’t skimp on your planning stage: do your research and decide what clever use of your resources can help you attain your online marketing goals.
I can help you navigate the choppy waters of nonprofit marketing, using online tools and strategies designed for YOUR nonprofit. And you have an absolute great point when you said that it’s not about the numbers but the relationship that is to be built. I am certain that my thoughts of the direction I was heading toward are the best for my company. People sense someone who’s being social to be a friend, not because they want something from you. In the coming year, 62% of respondents plan to increase their use of Facebook for marketing purposes.
They may have simply embraced the notion pushed by marketing agencies and media that Facebook is THE place to be, an inexpensive way to market to a targeted audience. These figures give small business owners and marketers a clear idea of the time competitors are investing. Successful inbound marketing needs an individual approach: focus on what is unique about the way you do what you do, and let that idea guide your social media marketing strategy. Even if you only have a few spare hours a week, you can still put together a plan for consistent interaction across multiple digital media platforms. The answer to that lies in the coordination of the overall program.What resources do you have to devote to internet marketing? Getting your site in the top five search results can be done, but not without a truly diligent approach to your internet marketing.
With the explosion of Pinterest’s popularity, the other major social media networks have been aggressively re-designing their layouts to be more image-heavy. Get your FREE copy of my brand new e-book, The Ultimate Nonprofit Guide to Creating Great Social Media Graphics.
You can read their headline findings below, with the full infographic above (click the image). Have you taken the opportunity to create your own unique persona or are you a cookie-cutter clone of your competition? It’s really a situation where you need to test, test, test to see what your audience likes. People buy your products, and read your posts, and become brand advocates and grow your small business. As a relatively new marketing platform with plenty of buzz, Facebook’s hype could be clouding its true potential for small business.
Do you have a staff of 20 where you can allot an employee a full-time job managing these items?

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