Nearly half of small business owners wrongly assume that since they either don’t have the time or interest in Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn that their current and prospective customers don’t either. The fact is that nothing could be further from the truth.
Using social media could set a small business aside from its competitors, based on a new survey from the Opinium Research, commissioned for Hiscox. Nearly half (47%) of 304 small business owners (companies with 1-249 employees) are not using social media for business purposes yet. If I suggested that no one who wanted or needed a small business’ goods or services had been served in Philadelphia, Chicago, Seattle and Phoenix, wouldn’t a prudent small business owner explore how to penetrate that market. The opportunity in social media is exponentially greater, closer to home and far less costly to develop.
The Hiscox survey found that of those small business owners participating in social media, Facebook pages are used the most (used by 19%), followed by LinkedIn (15%) and Twitter (4%). Not surprisingly, 28% of business owners who are social media users say the company’s Facebook presence is the most important channel for expanding their business. A smaller number (18%) said a company page or group on LinkedIn was most important, while 8% said their company’s blog was the most important driver of growth.
What many small business owners don’t realize is that content sent to one of those channels can easily and automatically be sent to the others.
In the survey, 43% of owners see social media as unimportant to their growth. Just 12% of survey participants consider social media efforts a must or something they do all the time. More (24%) say they do it when they have time, while just 14% of respondents admitted to not knowing enough about social media.
The data supports my contention that small business owners must develop a social media presence, or else someone else is going to find the millions of people who make social media a part of their day. They use it to gather information, to find goods and services, to scoop up discounts. And they do it not just on their desktops or laptops, but on their smartphones when they are ready, willing and able to buy.
Social media isn’t the sideshow anymore. It’s a main event. To not participate in social media is to allow the parade to pass by your business without inviting people in to the business. It makes no sense.