Social Media – Only 1% of SMEs Use It

January 3rd 2013       Sally Ormond       social media and business, social media mareting, social media strategy

Is that right? Only 1% of SMEs use social media (Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn) in their marketing activities?

That’s what The Drum reported in a recent article.

The startling revelation came from a survey from TalkTalk Business.


From the 500 SMEs surveyed, 43% said they weren’t comfortable using social networking sites.

As a copywriter, I’ve been using social media for a while to offer advice, promote my business and make new contacts. It really isn’t scary – it’s just like chatting with friends.

But I’m guessing that for many companies, the sheer immediacy of social media is quite daunting. After all, it gives their customers unprecedented access to them 24/7 and a very large stage from which to proclaim their displeasure (or pleasure)

Today queries and complaints can be made quickly and very publicly, leaving companies feeling vulnerable. But that transparency can also be used to their advantage; the way a company is seen to deal with an issue can earn them some serious brownie points. So there really isn’t any reason for companies to be afraid of social media. Used wisely, it can open up new markets and even find new business partners.

Of course, once you put something out on the web, it’s there for good, so any company looking to use social media as part of their marketing must have a strategy in place.

Understanding social media strategy

The first thing that must happen is for everyone to understand (that includes senior management) that the main goal is not to sell.

Social media is a long term commitment that should add value to your relationships with your customers.

Then you must determine what your goals are – whether you’re using it for PR, customer service or marketing. However you use it, your goals must be SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely).

Of course, not every social media outlet is going to be right for your business, so do your research. Work out where you customers hang out and where your activities will have the greatest impact.

Once you start to use the platform(s) join in the conversation, don’t just lurk on the fringes. Chat with people, answer questions and offer advice. All of these activities will help get you noticed and increase your levels of engagement.

After a while, you may start getting questions coming your way. If you do make sure you answer them. Also, it’s worthwhile bringing your social media activities into the real world by going along to networking events and tweetups so people can put a face to the profile.

One more thing about Twitter, if a specific person within your company runs the account, make sure they sign their name to their tweets, or have their bio on your Twitter page. People like to know who they are tweeting with.

The best way to learn is to do

“Social media can prove invaluable as a new business tool and so it’s worrying to see that so few SMEs are embracing it. Its business benefits range from being able to engage and understand the needs of customers and prospects through to gaining insights into target markets and perceptions of your organisation or brand.

“There’s certainly scope for more SMEs to be educated on how social media channels can be applied to business and ne harnessed to benefit the bottom line.” Paul Lawton, Managing Director of TalkTalk Business.

I couldn’t agree more Paul.



Tags: social media and business, social media mareting, social media strategy
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Comments (1)

Andy Nattan 6 years ago.

Well, that surprised me. 1% seems incredibly low. Then again, I suppose unlike lots of marketing techniques, there's a huge barrier to entry with social media. And that's time. If you're working from home, or in an office, and have your smartphone sending you Twitter notifications every few minutes, then you're free to invest your time in social marketing. But a window cleaner? Butcher? Chauffeur? When are they going to have time to post updates on Facebook? Probably out of office hours, which is when we're all sick of marketing and are busy tweeting about Strictly Come Dancing. I think there's scope for educating SMEs about tools such as Buffer - which will help remove that barrier to entry.