Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Facebook - SME's social media platform of choice?

This is apparently so, at least according to the online market research company Yougov, who have shared their report, with me.

With just over a quarter (26%) reportedly using the popular social networking website Facebook, perhaps at last, the sleeping giant that is the extent of SME's in the UK, is waking up to the opportunity that social media presents them?

The report also showed that LinkedIn and Twitter were proving popular, with 25% and 21% of SME's respectively reporting using them. While Video streaming site, YouTube, received just 10% of the vote, demonstrating the huge potential for growth in business related video for web and social media use. It perhaps also shows that SME's are not yet fully conversant with the way video can currently boost visibility with some search engines.

There is little doubt that the adoption of social media is rapidly changing the way businesses promote their goods and services. However this report indicates that over half of all SMEs (56%) never use social media to promote their business. There is no indication as to the key reasons for this. Many I have spoken too are; concerned over a possible time drain, fearful of the technology, or just do not know where to start.

In addition the majority of SMEs (88%) responding did not use a blog to promote their business. Significantly though the 11% of SMEs who did use a blog endorsed the use, with 80% agreeing that blogging was successful in terms of using it to promote their business. A blog helps position the business, or the senior staff, as knowledgeable on their subject, generating a dialogue and trust with existing and potential clients. This then helps to secure new and additional orders.

Though Facebook is apparently the most popular social media SME's are engaging with, according to the report, the majority of SME decision makers, whose company use social media to promote its business, believe LinkedIn is in actual fact, the most successful site for doing so (28%).

The SMEs who are using social media, do so mostly to promote products and services of offer (68%, followed by promoting the business’ brand (57%). Only 21% of the respondent SMEs were using social media to promote discounts, promotional and special offers.

The challenge I have with this report is the size of the sample. I did some rudimentary statistics as part of my training and a sample of just 500 may not be representative. The findings should be taken alongside other reports, not in isolation, plus consider your own findings when you talk to SME's.

My purpose for actually blogging about this is to transfer some of the basic uses that are occurring. To inspire others to start to participate and stimulate ideas around the benefits of Social Media for SME's. Also there is a basic fact that their are probably far fewer SME's using Social Media than not. There is a long way to go!

Embrace the world of Social Media effectively, use it demonstrate your passion for your business and you will get a fair return on a very nominal investment. Always remember that it is important to have the right messages, for the right audiences, in the right place to maximise the potential.

Until next time, remember with pasion and action you can make things happen.

N.B All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc.