SMEs failing to maximise social media 

Small companies struggle to make effective use of the internet and social media to market themselves, finds research.

Small companies struggle to make effective use of the internet and social media to market themselves, finds research.

According to the SME Omnibus by IFF Research of 500 small business decision-makers, only 5 per cent say that they are using Facebook for marketing their business and exploiting it fully.

For LinkedIn, 18 per cent think it effective for generating sales, but only 3 per cent say they are using it to the full.  The figures for Twitter are 17 per cent and 4 per cent respectively.

Mark Speed, joint managing director of IFF Research says, ‘People are still debating how useful social media is as a business development tool and it will not always be the right route for every company. However, there is a striking divide between those who say that a site is effective for generating leads and the number who seem to be taking advantage of this.’

Speed adds that powerful marketing of a service or product can bring great dividends but it does require an investment of time and resource. ‘There are some relatively quick wins, such as keeping company websites up to date with information designed to appeal to customers. However, our findings also show that, of those who have a website, 16 per cent only update it once or year, or not at all,’ he adds.

The research also looked at general marketing issues and found that many companies lack the time or resource to market themselves, online or otherwise.

While a majority – 62 per cent – feel that the amount of marketing they are doing is about right, 29 per cent of small and medium-sized enterprises say they are doing less than needed. In terms of finding more time for marketing, 50 per cent agree that running their business takes up all their time, meaning marketing is an afterthought.

“A substantial proportion of SMEs admit they are not doing enough to market themselves but there seems to be no easy solution when time is at a premium,’ adds Speed.

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