Social media presence: more and more an empowering asset for small businesses

by Laurent François

When it comes to social media, most of the time, you think “buzz”, “bloggers”, “Facebook”. It can seem difficult for small businesses to see an interest to invest in this crazy creative jungle…

Illustration of this opinion with “Reply to all” who has a challenging argument (commenting a Forrester research study) :

Of the many good nuggets, I think this one is very telling both in terms of the challenge and stage of maturity of these tools:
Although 25 percent of respondents say that they think social networks and online communities help to build brand awareness, they can’t connect these tactics to the sales pipeline, which remains a barrier to adoption.

Nonetheless, when it’s about finding a way to improve your reputation, there must be something to do online.

BrandRepublic released today a strong point for small businesses:

The number of small business promoting themselves on social networking sites has doubled in the last six months, according to a new survey from BT, which has its own business social networking offering. The study, which examined 416 small businesses, found that 15% are now promoted on social networking sites compared to just 7% at the beginning of the year. Start-ups rely on social networking the most with 22% using the sites, compared to 13% of home-based businesses and 11% of growing businesses. The research also revealed regional splits in the take-up of social networking. London is leading the way, with 24% of businesses using it to promote themselves, followed by the South East and North West with 19% each, and Scotland at 8%.

You probably won’t sell a pipeline on Ebay. But you’ll be able to contact the proper local provider, the top expert of the region, the most important influencers in the specific area. Social media is not about selling first. It’s about finding a hub, finding a key person / company. And if you have something to tell, to share your views and engage a discussion. Selling can’t be the entry point, whereas it’s the final output of your value chain.

SMP gives a good feedback of LinkedIn as an asset for small businesses entrepreneurs:

“Because of the public and self-policing nature of LinkedIn, members provide deep and accurate profile information and they update that information constantly.”

Social media are just starting to be fully considered by small companies. Ready to tchit-tchat with your future outsourced supplyer?

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