A recent survey by Provoke Insights found that the majority (82%) of small businesses are using social media. Yet, more than half (54%) of these businesses state that these marketing efforts are not paying off. Through analyzing the survey responses, Provoke Insights pinpointed five key areas to help small businesses create more effective social media initiatives.
1) Write out your strategy. Thirty-three percent (33%) of small businesses say they need help to develop a social media program. Before seeking outside help, companies should determine their strengths and weaknesses when it comes to the social media landscape, as well as understand the gaps in their current plan. Though this isn’t a full social media plan, it sets businesses in the right direction to develop a more comprehensive strategy.
2) Stand out from the crowd. A social media presence is more than just having Facebook and LinkedIn pages. However, most small businesses are solely using those channels (77%, 55% respectively). Interestingly, only 45% are using Twitter and even less are using Youtube (33%), Google+ (31%), blogs (18%), Instagram (16%), Pinterest (14%), Vine (9%) and Slideshare (5%). These additional channels can provide businesses opportunities to stand out from their competitors who don’t utilize these mediums. In addition, using social media sites such as Google+ and Slideshare helps improve organic search.
3) Invest smartly. Only 60% of small businesses have utilized paid social media advertising. However, of those who have used these channels, most (77%) have only used Facebook advertising. It is important to test other social media channels, such as LinkedIn or Twitter, to determine if they have a higher engagement rate. Also, by continually testing different types of paid social media tactics, you can determine which messages resonate most with your audience, as well as which sites produce the best leads.
4) Know what your numbers are saying. While tools like Google Analytics and Facebook Insights are free tools to measure customer engagement, only 25% of small businesses are analyzing their website data and even less (19%) are measuring their social media metrics.
Website analytics can show you what drives consumers to your site, including if your social media efforts improve ROI. Furthermore, you can learn more about your target audience, engagement rate, and the number of people who view your posts by simply using Facebook Insights.
Al Matesic, the owner of the digital advertising agency SWAMP80, states, “It surprises me how many companies only care about having a presence online without tracking if it works or not. Whenever I develop a website and social media pages for small businesses, I make sure I teach my clients about how to read metrics so they can be successful online.”
5) Create stronger relationships. 60% percent of small businesses believe that social media helps keep them in touch with their customers. This provides businesses an opportunity to further engage with their customers by providing advice, improved customer service, and new product offerings.
Provoke Insights conducted an online survey among 211 small business employees who are involved in the company’s marketing initiatives. “Small business” is defined as between $100k to $20 million in revenues. The survey was distributed between February 27th- 28th, 2014 using Survey Sampling B2B Panel.