New idea for great business

Most small businesses I talk to say the biggest reason they don’t embrace social more is time.  I get that.  They have a lot of other things on their plate besides posting on Facebook. A new study by The Alternative Board,  a peer-to-peer advisory board network of more than 3,000 entrepreneurs, gived us some greater insight into the topic.

59% of those surveyed feel social media is an accessory to their business, not an essential function.

Social media, done well, can enhance the media mix of a local business, increasing brand recognition and sales.

We’ve had pretty good success at AudiencePop (our digital services agency) helping small business owners grow their business with a media mix that includes social.  It takes time and skill to maximize the ROI.

Business owners certainly can do it themselves, but it takes time away from running the business.  For small businesses, they typically can’t afford to hire an employee to manage their marketing.

According to the study:

  • Of those with social media accounts, 64% monitor it once a week or less. 
  • 22% check it only a few times every year

As many as 18% of business owners report having no social media presence at all.  A lot of those that do hand off the task to relatives, store employees, or that-bright-young-person.  Despite the opportunity to grow their business in new ways, 67% are putting their social media channels in the hands of beginner to intermediate users – not experts, according to the study.

“More small business owners than not (59%) are managing their own social media channels.” – Jodie Shaw, The Alternative Board’s Chief Marketing Officer


Many businesses are focused on the wrong things.  Instead of measuring ROI, they are focused on reach.

“Six percent of small business owners are still using vanity metrics (shares, likes, views) as a way to measure ROI for social media, and 43% are not measuring ROI at all. “Without a full picture of the impact of social media, business owners cannot fully comprehend its value.” – Jodie Shaw, The Alternative Board’s Chief Marketing Officer

Despite their reluctance to build out their brand via social media, business owners do report social channels advancing their company’s strategic goals, citing LinkedIn as the most effective (38%) over Facebook (32%), Google+ (17%), and Twitter (6%).

 “These numbers show business owners are focusing their social media efforts more on business development than reaching their customer base.” – Jodie Shaw, The Alternative Board’s Chief Marketing Officer

Paul Dughi is VP/General Manager of AudiencePop, a digital services agency, and WAAY-TV ABC 31 in Huntsville, Alabama.