How social media can aid SMEs – but only if they get it right

With the vast majority of UK customers now having access to the internet and social media accounts, many firms are in a position to take advantage.


But they need to keep a watchful eye on the approaches they take, as a new study has revealed that they could be wasting time and money if they are not doing it properly.


The survey from consultancy firm Deal With The Media suggests that the majority of firms were unaware of whether their online presence was benefitting them as a business.


Some 61% of small business owners who took part in the survey said they were ‘uncertain’, ‘disagreed’, or ‘strongly disagreed’ that social media campaigns had been a success.


Uncertainty accounted for 43% of these responses, suggesting that many companies are unsure as to how best to measure performance.


Only 30% of business owners said they felt a social media presence has benefitted their company by driving sales and improving customer service, among other factors.


Those in the 18 to 24 age bracket were most likely to support the use of social media while 25-34 year olds were least likely to agree on its effectiveness.


The report suggests that the majority of the nation’s SMEs are using between six and ten hours a week to focus on social media marketing activities.


This is viewed as being a key part of ensuring that a company is modern and connected with its customers.


It is also suggested that much of the time spent updating sites – more than one billion man hours a year when collated together – is being wasted as the outcomes are not reflective of the work put in.


To put things into perspective, that number of hours equates to the combined workloads of more than 520,000 employees working full-time.


While social media does bring benefits, small businesses need to manage their time effectively to ensure they are not losing out.


Time can easily be spent on other more productive activities that can help reduce the pressure on cash flows and the bottom line of a business, reducing the threat of business insolvency in the progress.


By Phil Smith


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