By Elisabeth Goodman
Social Media: putting you and your business at the heart of your community
Back in 2010 I wrote a blog about how Social Media could be used as a key tool for sharing knowledge and for business development, and effective ways to go about that. [Social Media: putting your and your business at the heart of your community.] I had the opportunity to do something of an update on the topic at a Cambridge Network breakfast meeting on marketing for small businesses.
This time I focused on the kinds of returns on investment (ROIs) that Social Media can bring to SMEs, and how to maximize that. I was fortunate to be able to draw on the experience of others attending the seminar, and those interested but who could not attend, through a survey that they had completed beforehand.
Here is a brief synopsis of my presentation, the full slides for which can be found here. [Social Media – What’s the ROI? Cambridge Network Breakfast Meeting for SMEs]
By the way, the main tools used were LinkedIn and Twitter, with Facebook, blogs and Google+ following a little behind.
Why are SME’s using Social Media?
Building ones reputation, ones connections and ones knowledge continue to be the key reasons for using Social Media, as illustrated by these responses to the survey.
What is the ROI of using Social Media for SME’s?
Interestingly 3 of the 19 survey respondents stated that they had found none, whereas the other 16 had all found some return, even if not all of it was financially tangible. They cited:
- The value of Social Media in building strong rapport with existing and potential clients
- Being able to get past the ‘castle guard’ barrier of more traditional ways of reaching out to new clients
- The importance of ‘dancing as if no-one is watching’ i.e. being true to yourself and what you have to offer, with the trust that if you do so, people will come..
- The richness of this source of knowledge about your clients, their challenges and issues, and as a general source of knowledge
We also discussed how we should be using Social Media as a complementary tool to other more traditional methods. I used my own approach to illustrate this.
How to maximize the ROI for SME’s from Social Media?
There is an enormous risk of wasting a lot of time and effort on Social Media. Whist about 58% of our survey spent less than 3 hours on this per week, about 42% spent more than 3-5 hours per week.
So it is important, as in all business activities, to have a clearly defined strategy for our use of Social Media. This model may work as one approach to this.
Other ways to maximize the ROI, by reducing the (unproductive) time spent on Social Media include getting some good training on how to use the tools and making the most of labour-saving ‘devices’ such as tools that enable you to publish updates to several platforms at once (Hootsuite, the update bar of LinkedIn, the publishing feature of WordPress are examples of this). And of course there are businesses who specialize in managing your Social Media marketing for you.
Personally, I’ve found the 3 ‘I’s: Inform, Interact, Inspire – a really useful guideline to bear in mind in my day-to-day use of all of the tools.
Thank you To the small businesses who responded to the Social media ROI survey
I would like to especially thank those who participated in the survey, whether anonymously or by name. Here are those who gave their names:
- Robin Higgons Qi3 Ltd firstname.lastname@example.org
- Karen James, Lilac James
- QTP Environmental Ltd. email@example.com
- Amanda Brown, Managing Director, Alterra Amanda@alterra-consulting.co.uk
- Mark Collingwood http://www.tonicfusion.com Tonic Fusion
- Jamie Lesinski, Crossbar-fx, firstname.lastname@example.org 0, @jamielesinski @crossbarfx
- Ed Goodman, Cambridge Business Lounge,
- Richard Wishart, Delivery Management Ltd email@example.com
- Goncalo Syndicate room
- Alexandra Murphy Cambridge Network firstname.lastname@example.org
- Elisabeth Goodman is Owner and Principal Consultant at RiverRhee Consulting, enhancing team effectiveness through process improvement, knowledge management and change management. She provides 1:1 tutorials and seminars on how to use LinkedIn and other social media for personal and business development.
- Follow the links to find out about other ways in which Elisabeth Goodman and RiverRhee Consulting can help your team to work more effectively for greater productivity and improved team morale.