The folks over at Flowtown have a great illustration that aggregates information about where small to medium business spent their money in 2009 and where they plan to spend it in the next 5 years.
To me, it was really shocking to see that two thirds of small to medium businesses didn’t not even use any social media platforms in 2009. It might have been the economical tough times that are making them tighten their belt or maybe it is the generational gap. However, according to a study released earlier this year, the top two reasons sited by small businesses is that they don’t feel the need to use social media platforms because (1) their customers don’t use them (31%) or (2) they just basically don’t have the time to dedicate to them (21%).
While those might be viewed as valid reasons, God knows how using social media can suck hours upon hours from your day yet there are far more compelling reasons of why you should take the plunge. Just so I don’t make this post longer than it should be I’ll limit my self to the top three reasons (in my humble opinion):
Number 1: It’s Free
While being time consuming, the entry into this area of marketing is practically free. For a small business and especially in these tough economic times, the word “free” is like a pitcher of lemonade on a hot summer’s night. While it might take some time to get comfortable and establish your presence on several popular platforms, the fact of the matter remains that it will definitely generate leads.
Number 2: Given the stats you can still be an early adopter
While more than 350 million people are already on Facebook, you still might not find your clients and contacts on it. Being an early adopter will definitely impress your clientele and would send a clear message that you care about connecting to them on a personal level and catering to their individual needs by opening this communication channel. This will also put your competitors at a disadvantage for simply not caring enough to spend a few hours a week to take care of their customers.
Number 3: If your clients aren’t there, it’s a great tool to gain new ones
Social media has proved to be a gold mine for finding new customers and tapping into new markets. It allows you exposure beyond your niche market and demographics and provides you with the opportunity to connect to other people on a personal level. Social media sites like Yelp provided new hope for local Mom & Pop’s shops to compete and be heard despite of all the marketing noise that is present these days.
Whatever the reason it is that is keeping small and medium businesses from testing the waters of social media, there will surely be a change that will lead to adoption, just like the website was begrudgingly adopted 15 years ago.
What are your reactions about the statistics? What do you think are the main reasons why SMB should join social media sites? Let us hear your thoughts.