June 24, 2011

Social Media: Gold Mine or Bottomless Pit?

The thing about social media is that it levels the playing field for small businesses. With the prevalence of social networks such as Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook, marketing has reached an all-time high. However, marketing on social media takes more than just posting a tweet or sharing an article. In fact, according to a recent small business survey, the biggest frustration of small business owners is not about lines of credit or operating costs. The concern is whether they are marketing their business as effectively as they hope they are.

There are various social networking sites on the web today and the availability of it cannot guarantee growth. Social media is a marketing tool and like any other tools, it has its ups and downs. In the same survey, 57% of business owners use social media to amplify their products and services and 15% say that it has a direct impact on sales. Are these statistics good enough to boost optimism in using social media? In my opinion, it is. Marketing isn’t a one-off deal. It takes time and a whole lot of work before you could see an incredible increase in sales.

Getting social media ROI can prove to be difficult especially since 84% don’t measure ROI at all. If you think about, how would you know if your social media efforts are working or if they have a direct impact on your sales if you don’t measure it? The adoption of social media technology means that you also have to track it. Otherwise you would just go on tweeting, posting links, clicking on the “like” button and expanding your network without any real knowledge that what you are doing is beneficial to your business. It is easy to say that you are connected with like-minded people. It is easy to register on social networking sites. It is a piece of cake to schedule your tweets, your posts and your likes but it shouldn’t stop there. Marketing your business is all about evolution and it is trending. You shouldn’t get stuck on just one project and hope that it works. Social media doesn’t work that way and if you think that it is, you’re not leveraging its power.

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