For so many people today, social media sites are a must-have. Many businesses are finding great use for social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and others for a variety of tasks. According to a survey done by Postling.com, 78 percent of small business owners surveyed use Twitter, and 75 percent use Facebook. The survey showed that the more you post, the more comments you get. Sixty-two percent of small businesses surveyed posted eight or more times a week, resulting in a little more than 10 comments per day; those who posted less than once per week (14 percent) received about 0.02 comments per day. So why do some businesses find that social media doesn’t bring results through more website traffic and brand exposure?
According to the Postling survey, some small business owners are overwhelmed by social media, which keeps them from realizing its full potential. Another major problem is that there are often no clear-cut roles defined for who will maintain the social media sites. Eighteen percent of responders said that it was their own job, 15 percent said their company’s social media was handled by an outside source, and 13 percent said nobody did anything with social media. Seventy-four percent say that they don’t employ anyone special for the job. So whose job is it really to deal with social media sites? This needs to be clearly defined for a company’s social media to be both effective and regularly updated.
But there seems to be an overall shift in the small business community toward using social media sites. While 12 percent of responders say social media sites will not have any impact on their business, 88 percent said that social media currently does—or has the potential to—impact their business. TIME Magazine has explained exactly why small business should be using social media. TIME reported in June of 2012 that 64 percent of U.S. adults are active on social media and that 79 percent of those users are likely to seek the opinions of others on social media before buying goods or services. Of those, 64 percent have changed their minds about a product or a business because of the opinions posted on social media. With a social media profile, businesses would have the option to post their own content, allowing social media users to draw conclusions directly from the source. This is preferred, especially when 59 percent of social media users say that a company’s social media activities make that company appear “accessible and responsive,” according to TIME.
There are many companies that are already up and running on social media, though. Almost 50 percent of small businesses have successfully connected with new customers on social media networks, according to a blog post by crowdSPRING. A main way that companies are connecting with new customers and staying in touch with loyal customers is through interaction on social media sites. Sixty percent of small businesses surveyed respond all the time to comments posted on social media, whether negative or positive, while 24 percent respond sometimes, and 16 percent do not respond at all. This is a way for businesses to facilitate conversation with customers while getting performance feedback. Not only do social media sites allow for expansion and recognition of business branding, but they also provide an outlet for discussion between business owners and customers, making the experience more personal.
Kate Riley is the editorial intern at NY Report. She can be reached at email@example.com.