Update from ICON regarding COVID-19

Small business owners are renowned for wearing all hats in the business – bookkeeper, sales manager, marketing manager, handyman, and accountant and HR manager. Now there is a new force small business owners are wrangling with – Social Media.

There is no doubt that social media usage across all platforms has increased. In Australia, 30% of small to medium businesses have a social media presence, overwhelmingly focusing on Facebook as the platform of choice.

The Sensis Social Media Report 2015 has shed some insight into why many small businesses feel frustrated with the perceived lack of results from social media regardless of how much time they are spending on social platforms.

Just 16% of all small businesses are measuring any results from social media and over 80% of these businesses have failed to form a strategic plan for their social media presence.

Social guru Ted Rubin isn’t surprised one bit at small businesses not understanding how to position their social media to help grow their business—and told Forbes Magazine it’s because the small business community’s expectations of social media platforms that is creating the gap.

Forming a social media strategy and a plan including objectives and expected outcomes, and measuring them, is key to the success of building social media that delivers results. Expectations from social media need to be planned upfront and drive the way your business will use social media.

“Return on relationship takes time,” Rubin says. “People are being sold on social as a place to generate leads, but it’s really a place to build loyalty, answer customer service questions and to build a community.” These things take time, he says, and commitment to the platform, but in his experience they have proven to be the value that does result in an increase in revenue. How? Through trust and loyalty.
“Any business owner small or large will say that’s the win,” Rubin says. “If people trust you they’re going to be loyal. If they’re loyal, their average order will be higher, the frequency of their purchases will be higher and the life expectancy of them as a customer will be longer.” 

The Australian Sensis Social Media Report 2015 concluded that “Those SMEs who have embraced social media were more confident about their business prospects and reported better sales, profitability and employment performance than those without a social media presence. They were also more likely to be seeking growth and many expect to spend either the same or more on social media in the coming year.

The social media space continues to offer real opportunities for businesses seeking to better engage with customers and potential customers however quite a few are missing out on this opportunity by not having any presence. Businesses using social media should have a strategy and invest the necessary time, money and resources implementing it and measuring its effectiveness to maximise the benefits for them and their stakeholders.”

According to Social Media Today, “At its best, social media marketing can increase your small businesses visibility, give you a bigger reach and engage your current and future customers.”

To come back to the original question, is social media worth it for small businesses, to get closer to customers, have a portal for two way communication and build loyalty and trust, then yes, social media is definitely worth it for small businesses.