An astounding two-thirds of SME owners in the UK see no evidence that social media positively influences their business, according to new research.
The survey of 1,000 business people, conducted by Deal With The Media, found that a mere 30% of respondents thought social media was a useful marketing method, while 43% of those questioned said they were ‘uncertain’ if it held any value.
The question asked was: “Accounting for the time you spend on social media do you think it’s been effective for your business?”
Is age just a number?
The study achieved a greater level of insight by breaking the results down according to respondents’ age and region?
There was a fairly even spread of doubt among ages, with all groups apart from the 18-24 year olds – who returned 55.5 per cent positive results – showing a consistent picture of around two-thirds of respondents being at least uncertain that social media has been effective.
Somewhat surprisingly, the 25 to 34-year-old cohort was the most sceptical with the highest proportion (6.4 per cent) of any age group saying they ‘strongly disagree’ with social media being effective.
25 to 34-year-olds (250 respondents):
Mixed Midlands opinion
By proportion the West Midlands is the most negative region of the UK with 75% of respondents being uncertain, disagreeing or strongly disagreeing with the question.
The East Midlands, by contrast, proved to be proportionately the most positive and was the only region to record a majority positive response with 61.3% of those surveyed agreeing or strongly agreeing with the question.
West Midlands (80 respondents):
‘One billion man-hours’ wasted
“At the moment social media isn’t working for the majority of small businesses. Most of the UK’s five million small and medium enterprise spend between six and 10 hours a week marketing themselves via social media, making their businesses feel modern, digital and connected to their customers,” said Deal With The Media founder, Pete Walter.
“The unfortunate reality is most of are wasting time and money in doing so. Collectively, all that time spent tweeting and updating various sites adds up to more than one billion man-hours a year – or the combined workload of more than 520,000 full-time employees.”