It's obvious that businesses recognise the potential of social media as well as how it affects their company. Yet a new study from SocialStrategy1 and OfficeArrow state that the majority of small businesses are overwhelmed by the concept and are unsure as to how they can use it to grow their company.
The study featured 343 small business executives, from companies that have fewer than ten employees. The most contrasting factor is that 88 per cent of those surveyed said that they could see the impact that social media would have on their business. Also 63 per cent said that they had factored social media into their plans with Facebook (61 per cent) being the highest. LinkedIn (48 per cent) and Twitter (37 per cent)
However, two-thirds (67 per cent) of those surveyed said that they would not be increasing their investment in social media stating that they felt overwhelmed with the concept, citing problems such as an overload of information, the idea of disclosing confidential information, too much management and negative commentary.
While it's a very small number of businesses that were surveyed, it does highlight how not all businesses have embraced social media the same way as others. Although thanks to their size, small businesses have the flexibility to approach social media from any angle they wish. But perhaps that's where the problem lies: since there's so much potential, the open ended nature can cause much confusion and headaches for these businesses.
If this is the case, then it's important to ask how what is the tone of the company? Is it serious? Lighthearted? Or a mixture of both? Also there's nothing to say that you can't focus on one or two sites like Facebook or Twitter, it might even be a help just to have the one social media account to manage before branching out onto other platforms.
Also, as the study suggested, social media is more about listening than talking, providing information is also important but that's not the purpose of social media. Social media serves as a means of communication between the consumer and the business, therefore it's important to emphasise that the relationship is one where both sides are equal. They're basic questions but if they aren't answered, then your social media strategy will have no direction.
What do you think? Is this a fair representation of small businesses and their stance towards social media?
[Infographic originally from SocialStrategy1]
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