Online retail community Manta illustrates in a report that Canadian small business owners are really investing time in social media. However, most of these companies are not seeing a return on investment.
In a survey which included 1,235 small business owners, 55% have vastly increased their social media presence this year and over 55% are using Facebook as the main place to generate leads.
This is all well and good, but over 60% of these businesses report that they have seen ABSOLUTELY NO return from this investment.
TodaysMenu.Ca owner, Paul Hickey is not surprised at all and says it’s because the small business community’s expectations of social media platforms, and the way they are using the technology is simply never going to add up.
“The problem is that ‘experts’ are telling small businesses that this is the only way to go, online” Paul says, “Their expectations are set up exceptionally high and then when a return does not come in, Small Business owners are told that it’s their product or service that is not interesting to users, not that the whole idea of selling their product on Facebook or Twitter was flawed in the first place.”
Internet consultancy agencies often imply that setting up on Linked In, or Facebook, or Twitter or Instagram is opening up a floodgate of possibilities. “It just wont work,” Paul says. “Social Media can be a great way to interact with your customers but it’s not a lead generator in of itself. Posting a lot of content to facebook two or three times a day can actually have an adverse effect on your customers.”
In ProTwit’s opinion, socialmedia is a very long term strategy and that can be a costly lesson to learn. “Return on a relationship takes time,” Pual says. “At Todays’ Menu we use social media simply to keep in touch with customers and let them know what is happening when something is new or something is important. Generating leads from Twitter is not a goal, it’s about providing something useful to support our sales and keep our customers interested. Eventually we do expect tweets to generate sales, but only after we have built an interested community, that actually wants to hear about our Prepared Meals.”
As in the Matra Survey – the way in which social media is sold to small businesses can create a great deal of discontent. It is only with a realistic view of what you can expect from Twitter, can you then budget your time for it’s use. Building a business from Meme or Tweet to direct sale may work for an incredibly small number of exciting or unusual products, but it’s not a good strategy for most.
Here at Pro-Twit we recommend mapping out the strategy first. Social Media supports sales. It is not the key to open the floodgates.
Thanks to Paul Hickey, who, among other things, provides a ‘meals on wheels‘ option for people to buy nutritious meals for Elderly Clients in Toronto.