Why has Social Media been slow to take off in SMEs?
According to a recent widely reported survey by Business Network International (BNI) 75% of businesses owners had been put off by company’s miss-using social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. This may go some way to explaining why many SME’s have been slow to adopt the medium for their own businesses.
I’ve lost count of the number of times senior executives in smaller companies have asked about social media only to dismiss it with a wave of the hand when I start to explain the basics. Of course they have HEARD of Facebook, but they would never actually USE it themselves.
So the first problem is simple ignorance, I don’t use it, I don’t understand it, therefore my company won’t use it. Things are changing but there still remains a hard core of individuals that will be the last to adopt.
A similar problem to ignorance is the fear of change, not restricted to social media of course. Budgets are finite so why risk using something new and unproven when you can stick to the same old marketing you’ve always done.
The next problem is time, many organisations that have ventured down the social media road don’t allocate sufficient resources to use the medium effectively. They may have set up a Facebook page or registered with LinkedIn but that is as far as it has gone. When quizzed these same people will complain about what a waste of time is was and how they’ve got nothing out of it.
Many organisations are reactive when it comes to any kind of marketing. If their competitors are not doing something why should they? Rather than seize the initiative and steal a lead on other companies they wait for their hand to be forced. Similarly when someone in their industry has had a go but failed to make it work, for unclear reasons, this will be used as an excuse to avoid taking that first step.
Here’s where the adverting agency can help – it is our job to help the reluctant client by developing a realistic campaign with modest goals that will help build confidence, similar to supporting a toddler as they take their first unsteady steps. Unlike most traditional advertising Social Media is infinitely scalable so you can start small and it is also very good at generating numbers and pretty charts to support your endeavours.
The other main area where an agency can help is with content. Many B2B organisations make the mistake of using junior staff to run their Social Media campaigns, primarily because they understand the technology, and as we have already established, the senior exec doesn’t. BIG MISTAKE – chances are they don’t understand enough about the products and services, history and ethos of the company and brand, they don’t have the necessary authority to handle problem customers efficiently and most of what they produce is frankly dull and boring.
The same creative juices that an agency uses to design eye-catching campaigns can provide succinct, well written and original content that reaches out to and engages with the customer.
So if you’re an SME and still undecided about Social Media – come on in, the water’s lovely.