Getting found online is certainly the most important thing that small businesses can’t afford to neglect in today’s internet era. It’s important for them to maintain a steady presence online either through their websites or other tools, such as social networking sites.
In today’s scenario, most small businesses have their pages at least on Facebook and Twitter. They feel that it’s critical to be present on social media channels, to create awareness about their company and products among browsers. However, this is a different issue that more than half of the businesses struggle to promote themselves on social media.
The reasons for this may be the lack of good content, shortage of right marketing strategies, failure to connect with the browsers or just the delay in responding to the inquiries.
Previously, the percentage of businesses believing in the value of social networking was quite low. But the immense popularity of Facebook and Twitter has brought about a major change in the mentality and behavior of the small businesses on the internet. After years of avoiding it, they have happily embraced it to reap the benefits of being connected with their audience through social media channels.
Manta, an online community dedicated to helping small businesses in connecting, growing and profiting by harnessing the power of the internet, had conducted a survey in August 2012. According to the survey, nearly 50 percent of the businesses agreed being found by their customers while networking on social media channels. They agreed that networking online and participating in discussions was extremely beneficial in gaining prospective customers. Not only this, around 78 percent of them said that they had received around a quarter of their new customers this way only.
According to the survey, it had been found out that 90 percent of small businesses dedicate time to networking on the internet, whereas 78 percent of them feel that networking online is just as valuable as networking in person. It’s true that nearly half of the businesses are still not able to reap the optimal benefits of social networking but they are in the process of attaining recognition and creating awareness among browsers.
Another survey conducted in USA shows that oGoing, a leading small business social network in the country, marked an amazing growth of 500 percent in 2012. It’s the fastest growing social network for small businesses, which now reaches out to more than 100,000 businesses, owners, startups, entrepreneurs and SMBs. What is more exciting is that oGoing was although an old group but it attained this much growth only after it was re-launched in 2011 by Sanjay Dalal, its founder and CEO, with a goal to become a leading platform for social networking for services providers, small businesses, SMBs, owners, entrepreneurs and small businesses.
According to The Guardian, a UK daily, the social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest can bring a lot of business to companies. The Guardian professional Allen Coleman met the firms that have actually gained from the presence of social media channels. The most common strategy found was being regular and engage people through tweets, status updates, blog posts, latest news and additions in the product line. Businesses say that social networking has replaced face-to-face social meetings but has resulted in saving a lot of money. The benefit is that through social media channels they can actually network with their target audience for their own location without actually spending money on traveling and socializing.
However, recognizing the potential and giving value to the readers is something that is required no matter what. On the flip side, nearly half of the businesses present on social media channels are not able to provide this to their audience and this is why they fail to reap the benefits. There is still lot more to offer on social media as and when time changes and businesses will have to keep identifying the needs of their audience as and when time changes.