I’ve mentioned before that I keep a “blog this” file which contains articles that piqued a thought. I went through the file over the weekend and came across a press release from the folks at Constant Contact. They do a study about the state of small businesses and the ways they connect with and grow their audiences. Results include responses from respondents across a range of business-to-business and business-to-consumer industries. What piqued my interest was this:
While small business interest in, and appreciation for, social media is on the rise, small business owners continue to lack confidence in their social media skills. More than half (54 percent) chose social media marketing as the marketing activity they need the most help with, which might explain why their frequency of use with social media is not where it needs to be. Only 13 percent of survey respondents post to Twitter daily and ten percent post weekly to LinkedIn.
Aside from the obvious point that clearly I need to make my phone number and email address more prominent (I can help – call me, you guys!) that research shows me that these folks are being smarter than others. They recognize that value of the various platforms and aren’t shooting the messengers due to their inability to capitalize on what those platforms offer.
Social is a conversation. If you’re only engaging on an irregular basis (once a week) and only a fraction are even engaging that often, it’s not going to work.
The study is unclear with respect to how they’re defining social media marketing. The owners were asked “which social media platform is the most effective for their organization” and that’s kind of nebulous. Is it paid advertising and the “effectiveness” is measured by responses? Or is it some other engagement metric? One hopes the respondents can answer how they’re defining “effective” but I suspect they can’t.
Social media is not like any other form. It requires commitment and resources far beyond what many folks have experienced buying print, TV, radio, or even display ads. Doing it badly can do more than be ineffective – it can hurt your business (no one likes to be ignored!). Can we agree on that?