SME owners don’t see value in social media » SMEInsider

SME owners don’t see value in social media

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?”

 

Overall results:

results

 

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): 

25

 

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): 

west

 

‘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.”

  • How much of this is because they have not invested the time to get training on how best to use the various social media networks?
    I freely admit to losing time on them, but then I have had some training and my performance is much improved. I get 20+% of my business through LinkedIn and I have had leads and found suppliers on Twitter. I don’t use Facebook for business as I am in the B2B space.

    • George Carey

      Thanks for your comment, Nigel. I agree that training is important but think a lot can be learned as you go, simply by engaging with the medium.
      It sounds like LinkedIn is working out well for you; are you approaching people directly or using a more under-the-line approach.

  • Too many business owners use social media ineffectively, thinking that it’s just a case of being on there and the customers will come. It’s not. It’s important to have a well thought out strategy that links your activity on social media with the rest of your marketing, helping to drive your customer down the right path. Along with other types of marketing, social media can definitely add value to the overall mix, rather than being a stand-alone solution that disappoints. It’s just a case of knowing how to use it effectively.

    • George Carey

      Thanks for your comments Claire, I totally agree. Without an overarching strategy for your activity on social media and how that will integrate with the wider business, it’s unlikely to have a positive effect.
      Do you find that you manage to reach the same audience with social media as you do with your traditional marketing, or is it a case of trying to bring two disparate groups together?

      • I think it depends on the demographic of your target audience really. Some groups are open to all marketing streams and others tend to favour one or the other.

  • George Carey

    Thanks for your comments Claire, I totally agree. Without an overarching strategy for your activity on social media and how that will integrate with the wider business, it’s unlikely to have a positive effect.
    Do you find that you manage to reach the same audience with social media as you do with your traditional marketing, or is it a case of trying to bring two disparate groups together?

  • Tet Kofi

    We deal with a lot of start-ups and businesses who’re those that could best gain from Social media. I’ve done many talks on the subject to clients and am always surprised by:
    1. How little training many have in the basic disciplines of classical marketing.
    2. How they then transpose this lack of training on to social media with high enthusiasm and expectation, but with predictably poor results.
    3. How many think social media for business is just like running their home Facebook pages.
    4. How few have goals strategy or a plan.

    The exception to the rule are clients who are tech savvy , and they usually see the point and value of SMM and apply it to growth hacking with good results. The short answer? Education and training. No one was ever born knowing anything. Most of what we do has to be learned!

    Love to discuss this further. Its a passion for us @JournoLink the online PR portal.

  • michellecarvill

    I’ve worked with various organisations – of all shapes and sizes. What I see is that they dive into social media channels with zero knowledge of the channels, zero objectives and very little focus – yet high expectation that their sporadic tweets will bring great results.

    Social media marketing should not be in place, just to keep up with the Jone’s’ – and look like a digitally connected business. It should be about focused attention on delivering upon clearly defined business objectives. As Tet Kofi rightly says below – there’s often very little knowledge of classical marketing – and so the same lack of understanding is applied to the social media channels. They are channels – far reaching and immediate – and offer many possibilities. but if you don’t know what you’re doing with them – then it’s a problem.

    Social media channels when integrated into well thought out marketing activities – deliver effective return on investment. Just with any other digital marketing channel – such as google adwords – if you don’t know what you’re doing – you can burn a lot of money and waste a lot of time – which is exactly what businesses are reporting! The remedy, more planning and analysis at the outset, more training, skill development and more consultation with people that do know.