Does your small business use social media?

If so, you’re in the minority.

According to a new survey, nearly two thirds of Australian internet users participate on social networking sites yet only 14% of small businesses have a social media presence.

According to the Sensis Social Media Report, which surveyed 803 Australian consumers and almost 2,000 businesses about their use of social media, 62% of Australian internet users now have a presence on social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and LinkedIn. However, only 14% of small businesses have a social media presence, with social media typically attracting less than 5% of a company’s total marketing budget

Social media is a contentious topic, and one that I enjoy discussing in our Ideas2Market Masterclass workshops. I am of the opinion that while social media is not suitable for every small business, it should always be an essential part of your marketing plan.

Each year as you review your marketing plan, you should be doing an analysis of your business and making a fresh decision about whether or not social media tools could help you reach your customers. If the conclusion is that social media tools are not compatible with your brand, then you must still have resources dedicated to monitoring social media for information and feedback about your business. Just because you are choosing not to participate in the social media conversation doesn’t mean it’s not happening without you. If you choose not to speak, you can (and should) still listen.

If you do chose to include social media in your marketing, it is crucial to have a strategy. Random and poorly planned social media activity can sometimes cause more damage than good to a business. You need to identify your brand voice, choose the most suitable social media channels and allocate resources to ensure a consistent, effective and measurable marketing effort.

Whatever your choice, you simply cannot ignore social media if you have a small business.

  • To read the full Sensis Social Media Report, please click here.
  • To learn more about creating a social media strategy for your small business, attend an Ideas2Market Masterclass. You can find out when workshops are scheduled near you by clicking here.

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