Does SMB Crash & Burn in Social Media or is it a Tracking Problem?
According to a new Manta survey, 61% of small business owners say the return on their investment for using social media is zilch, nada, nothing.
The survey sample itself was small, only 1,235 small business members, however the numbers tell a story.
But what is that story? Screenwerk took the words out of my mouth, speculating that perhaps “SMBs are unsophisticated about tracking ROI on social media or because their efforts are weak or limited.”
Here are some numbers that may support that argument:
- 55% say their main purpose of using social media is to acquire and engage new customers and referrals.
- Yet 58% say they spend less than three hours per week using social media. 27% say they spend less than an hour.
- And 88% of small business owners are their own lone marketers, so it’s no surprise that 53% are reported by Justin Sanger to only have one person managing social media (and 20% said nobody specific manages it).
A business that’s only putting in an hour to three hours a week in social media is unlikely to be tracking their campaigns effectively because they’re not taking social media that seriously.
- In less than an hour a week, a small business has the ability to check in to their many social networks, respond to @’s and replies on Facebook, write quick promotional copy and get back to business.
- In three hours per week they have a little more time to come up with more creative promotions, respond to people, promote themselves, maybe even promote other local businesses they like, then get back to business.
That’s more like maintenance. Not to say that you can’t keep customers happy in one to three hours a week, but it’d be difficult to build a new fan base and following in that short of time, never mind track and analyze any campaigns with that sort of window—and these survey results are proving it.
Possibly one of the most disappointing figures is that only two percent of respondents are using social media to retain existing customers. Two percent. Talk about alienating your most qualified leads.
What you should be doing on social media in an hour per week
While social media is technically a free marketing platform, it’s still work. And I’m not going to tell you that you need to spend all day on a platform that you’re thinking won’t work for you.
So instead, here’s what you can do in an hour per week through social media, mostly completed on Monday:
- Write one evergreen promotional tweet and schedule it once a month for the next several months (use a program like Hootsuite to schedule it). This will save you hours later on.
- Write your Tweets for the week and schedule those too.
- Write five posts for Facebook and schedule them out throughout the week. You can do this through Facebook or through a program like Hootsuite.
- Install the Twitter and Facebook Pages apps on your phone and turn push notifications ON so that you can respond to customers in real time.
- Track everything!
Swipely’s new Spring Update is especially focused on that crucial tracking part. We can now:
- Show related Twitter and Facebook marketing in the context of campaign sales results
- Attribute Yelp and Google reviews from customers during the campaign period
- After campaigns finish, monitor how many customers return over time
- Monitor reputation across Yelp, Google and OpenTable
And that one-hour plan is mostly maintenance, by the way. It’s by no means a way to build new fans and followers. Scheduling tweets can also make you look insensitive when they get sent out during big news days with major tragedies.
The three-hour a week plan would include some scheduling, but more tweeting on-demand, in the kitchen, behind the scenes. It’d include another social network, like Instagram which can post to both Facebook and Twitter.
For someone with more time, it’d include using Twitter’s search feature to find people in their city looking for things you sell or cook. It’d mean watching your feed and responding to the people in it. It’d include posting more Instagram photos, Vine videos, and holding Google+ Hangouts or Q&A Facebook Chats. It’d include hosting Tweet-ups at your business (a post on that one coming soon!). It’d include at least one hour per day, but probably more like two or three.
If you’re part of the 58% of small businesses that aren’t seeing a return on their investment for social media, be honest, do you have a good way to track your efforts?
If you don’t, you’re not alone. Web-based businesses have the advantage of being able to slap on a tracking code or look at their Hootsuite dashboard and see where people clicked, but small businesses don’t. Tracking a customer from a tweet or Facebook post all the way to your table and then back again is a science but a necessary component of social marketing and for an accurate estimate of your true social media ROI.