Small Business Administration: The Question of Social is Not Why, But How'

May 20th, 2010 No Comments

While some companies are still debating whether they should market online, it’s a settled matter, at least according to the Small Business Administration.

Adding Social Media to the Business Marketing Mix – No Longer a Question of “Why?” but “How?”

According to the latest *Small Business Success Index™ 61% of small business respondents use blogs, Twitter and Facebook profiles to expand “…external marketing and engagement including identifying and attracting new customers, building brand awareness and staying engaged with customers.”

How are small businesses using social media? According to the report:

  • 75% have a company page on a social networking site
  • 57% have built a network through a site like LinkedIn

But social media is not a magic panacea. Nor is it a task that should be done in addition to other tasks and something that just requires a few status updates. As I’ve written previously, social media takes time. A lot of it, and a lot more time and investment then most people realize. Some people are sucked into promises of “free” – as in free tools – and instant results. They are usually disappointed, because they were mislead.

  • 50% of small business social media users say it takes more time than expected

According to the Small Business Association, “17% express that social media gives people a chance to criticize their business on the Internet” and “6% feel that social media use has hurt the image of the business more than helped it.” However, it’s important to recognize something:

  • Whether you are online or not, your brand is being discussed. Whether it’s customer service on Twitter or Facebook’s new community pages, people are talking about your brand. The only question that you should ask is “Are you listening? Are you a part of this conversation?”

According to the Small Business Administration:

Done Right, Social Media Marketing Levels the Business Playing Field.

As Janet Wagner of the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business explains:

Social media levels the playing field for small businesses by helping them deliver customer service. Time spent on Twitter, Facebook and blogs is an investment in making it easier for small businesses to compete…we (are) at the point now, where…the question for business owners should no longer be ‘why use social media marketing’, but ‘how’?”

For companies that are more interested in how social media strategies can help their business, be in touch with The Cline Group’s digital marketing strategists or check out the Small Business Administration’s great list of resources.

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