From the Influencers

Over Half of Small Business Owners Ignore Social Media Marketing Altogether

November 11, 2016

Social media can be a very funny thing. For everyone who makes a career out of showing off new clothing designs on Instagram or playing video games and commenting on them on YouTube, there's someone who's getting their life actively ruined on Twitter or actively ruining it with an indiscriminate Facebook post. It's a powerful tool, particularly for marketing, but many small businesses aren't even involved in social media marketing.

A recent poll of small business owners found out that, despite the fact that Instagram is a hugely popular social media platform, 76 percent of owners aren't using Instagram as a marketing tool at all. This is mostly due to unfamiliarity with the tool, but it gets worse from there; 33 percent aren't using any kind of social media marketing. Not Twitter, not YouTube, not Instagram, nothing.

Those who do use Instagram use it for different reasons; 92 percent are looking to, not surprisingly, attract new customers. Another 41 percent is eager to “support a community” or show off “...values and personality.” With only four percent of surveyed businesses actively posting on Instagram, though, it's clear there's some room for bolstered effort there. Seven percent of businesses turn to Twitter, and the clear leader for small businesses is Facebook at 39 percent.

With over 500 million users a month, Instagram is a hot property right now, and taking advantage of that to draw attention to goods and services can be a real winner.

Good start, certainly, but it's not hard to see why businesses aren't jumping into social media marketing. Many probably remember that three years ago Facebook was top of the heap. Now, suddenly, the mood has changed and a lot of Facebook's crowd has shifted to Instagram. Facebook is still a going concern, of course, but the move was clear, particularly in the younger set. Small business owners generally don't have a lot of capital to work with, and likely aren't interested in devoting time and effort to mastering a system that might stop producing value only a couple years after achieving mastery. So small businesses likely stay out of a pool they don't much understand to avoid losing valuable resources to wasted effort. Yet by avoiding social media, there's time lost, and potential returns lost as well; a customer base that increasingly expects access to businesses via social media and other channels may well make buying decisions accordingly.

Staying out of social media may seem like a good way to protect against waste, but it's also a good way to lose out on potential gain. Investing some time and effort into social media can pay some substantial dividends, and potentially protect against lost to more socially savvy competitors.

Edited by Maurice Nagle

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