Social media for small businesses – hit or miss?


A new survey by PeoplePerHour.com has revealed that a massive 91% of small businesses are now using social media for business purposes. This is up from a figure of 60% recorded in the previous year’s survey.  Businesses have reported using Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter for recruitment, marketing and finding new business. PeoplePerHour.com founder Xenios Thrasyvoulou says this demonstrates how Facebook has become an ‘increasingly crucial technology’ for business.

Does this mean you cannot succeed as a small or micro business today without a Facebook presence or regular tweets? The answer will of course depend on where your customers are likely to be spending their time. And equally whether you as a small business realistically have the time to devote to doing it properly.

Using Facebook or Twitter will not transform your bottom line overnight, but here are a few simple ways that social media could benefit your small or micro business…

  • Keep your existing customers up to date with your products and services, and ask for feedback on new offerings.
  • Enhance and improve your business’s reputation – by interacting with your customers in a positive and helpful way.
  • Give your business a personal touch by introducing the names and faces behind the logo, remember that customers like to buy from people they know, so send out content which lets customers get to know the philosophy and values behind your business.
  • Promote your business to a wider audience. The internet offers an almost infinite number of potential new ‘word of mouth’ customers. Every time a customer chooses to share or like your content, they are promoting your business for you!
  • Encourage and invite customers to comment on your content – each positive comment, retweet or ‘like’ is a free piece of advertising.
  • Carry out customer polls on your Facebook page, and publish or tweet the results as an interesting news story.
  • Build customer loyalty with special offers and discounts.
  • Network with other like-minded businesses.
  • Try it out for free! It takes time to build up a Facebook or Twitter following, but it doesn’t cost anything to try it out…

Next week… Social media: small business dos and don’ts.

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3 Responses to Social media for small businesses – hit or miss?

  1. Susan Hoy says:

    The site is looking great and an interesting blog. I hope it will help businesses think about the time and resources it takes to use social media to its full advantage, rather than just jumping on the bandwagon. If used correctly it can engage with customers to enhance reputations, but I have come across many examples where they don’t realize it is a two way process leaving customers frustrated and annoyed.

  2. I totally agree with your comment Emma, social media are now a reality and cannot be ignored, however I believe that put your company socially is not an hobby and do it in a wrong way is the worst thing you can do. Common sample mistakes using facebook that will drive your customers away are:
    - Create a page and fail to maintain
    - Try a hard sell approach
    - Censor comments
    - Post false info
    - Spam your fans / friends with private frequent messages
    Another important point to me is: How can we measure the effectiveness of a social investment?
    Few ideas here considering facebook:
    - Rewards customers that are active (post comment) – You can implement a facebook application to allow a customer to print a voucher and monitor the number of vouchers redeemed
    - If you own or manage a customer database you could be able to recognize those customer that are active in facebook and compare the performances before they become facebook fans or with other customers
    “Using customer data to power business growth” is not only for big and medium companies; technology is now providing powerful tools at reasonable price …… life is full of opportunities!

  3. Walking around London it looks like “Small Business” is a rare business, big chains everywhere …

    As your post was on “Small Business”, I was wondering “how many SME are there in London ?” – I found the following stats (update November 2011):

    • There are 4.5 million small businesses in the UK
    • SMEs account for 99 per cent of of all enterprise int he UK, 58.8 per cent of private sector employment and 48.8 per cent of private sector turnover
    • SMEs employed an estimated 13.8 million people and had an estimated combined annual turnover of £1,500 billion
    • Businesses with employees account for a quarter of all enterprises – a fall of 29,000 since 2010
    • There are 876,000 businesses in construction – a fifth of all UK enterprises
    • London has 748,000 enterprises – more than any other region
    • The South East has the second largest number of enterprises with 745,000. Combined with London, a third of all businesses are based here
    • 45.3 per cent of businesses are registered for VAT and/or PAYE
    • The number of sole proprietorships increased by 87,000 in 2010 and the number of companies, 6,000

    micro: 0-9 employees, small: 10-50 employees, medium: 50-249 employees

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