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Many SMEs are not so big on social media

Written by Dara Jegede on Wednesday, 09 April 2014. Posted in Social, Sales & Marketing

More than two-thirds of micros believe that ‘word of mouth’, not social media, is their main source of growth for the year ahead

Many SMEs are not so big on social media

Twitter is the global rambling parlour, Instagram the selfie nation, and Facebook is stalker central. Or so we're told. Either way, social media certainly caters to our hankerings to moan and boost our ego, but it has served businesses and brands in different capacities.

As many brand consultants will relate, getting social is one of the easiest and most advantageous marketing mechanisms of recent times. And what’s more, it’s free. It makes us wonder why micros are selling themselves short by not taking advantage of these opportunities?

Livelihood businesses in the UK, a new report from Bibby Financial Services (BFS), the SME funder, has revealed that three quarters of the UK’s micro businesses — those for whom social media is arguably most important - do not regard the phenomenon as important to their business strategy. Remarkably, only 27% of those surveyed had a Facebook account while another 17% dabbled with Twitter.

Instead, most micros, according to the report, projected that client referrals will be their main source of business growth this year, with 67% saying that ‘word of mouth’ is their avenue for growth in 2014. Only a quarter recognised marketing as a means of new business growth.

The survey also found that a mere 14% of manufacturing businesses considered social media as an important route to the market. This is understandable to a certain degree given that most manufacturers operate in a B2B environment. In the service sector, however, where most business is customer-facing, only 46% of companies stated that social media is important to their business strategy.

The advantages of social media may not be relevant to some industries but there’s no denying that those that have implemented a social media system to interact with both new and existing clients have experienced some great returns.

“More and more consumers are turning to social media during the buying process, whether this is to find out more about a business they may buy from or to read other consumers’ views,” commented Andy Tait, sales and marketing director at BFS. “This is a great opportunity for small businesses to engage early on in the decision-making process and ultimately to win business.”

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About the Author

Dara Jegede

Dara Jegede

Jegede recently left the London School of Journalism having previously embarked on a soul-searching stint in the city of love. That's Paris, by the way.

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