E-Marketing in Minneapolis David Vinge, eMarketing Dashboard: Can Social Media Help Small Biz?

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Can Social Media Help Small Biz?


My favorite local wine bar/coffee shop has Twitter Tuesdays. Give your Twitter name at the drive-up window and get a free cup of coffee if you are on their follower list (only about 57 so far). They've kept it going for a month and say that it is here to stay. Hmm... They must be selling a lot of breakfast sandwitches with that free coffee. Last week they had a one-night coupon on Facebook good for "one free wine or beer from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m."   They've been open less than six months.  I hope they survive.

Lead generation/new customer aquistion should be the top business benefit derived from social media for small businesses. But in a survey from Citibank, the majority of small-business executives found social networks no good for expanding their business.

But contrast this with the “Small Business Marketing Forecast 2010” from Ad-ology - lead generation is the biggest benefit of social networking for US small businesses, cited by one-half of respondents. Social networks were also considered a good way to keep up with the industry and monitor online chatter about the business.

Small businesses rated Facebook the most beneficial social networking site, with one-third of respondents reporting it was at least somewhat helpful. It was also the social network most likely to be used. Use of LinkedIn was less common, but the business-oriented site was claimed as beneficial by 21% of small businesses, compared with 19% that said the same of Twitter.

While awareness of social media is high among small businesses, education is still needed. Nearly one-half of respondents wished they knew more about the channel, and some of the biggest obstacles to doing more with social networking included a lack of knowledge.

The No 1. roadblock, however, was the perception that “our customers do not use social networks,” claimed by 31% of small businesses. Nearly as many complained that they did not have the time or staff available to do a good job with social network marketing. I'm sure this is true. So what would be the ROI if they outsourced this activity to a profressional? Is anyone willing to be paid based on performance? How would performance be measured?

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