The recent report from Sensis Social Media survey came as a bit of a surprise, especially at a time when many online marketers think that Facebook is suffering a slow death. Facebook continues to be the most used social media site with 93% Australian users, compared to only 26% of Instagram, and 17% of Twitter. Around 79% of people access the Internet daily and 49% of them use social networking sites at least once a day.
So it’s safe to say that Facebook is not going anywhere anytime soon. However, large companies have been dropping it with a dramatic decline from 77 per cent last year to 56 per cent this year. Small business Facebook usage also dropped from 37 to 31 per cent. According to the digital director of Sensis, this only shows that although small businesses are not getting as much as they expected from Facebook, when they do get the execution right it actually often works better for them than large businesses.
Still, it seems that this is not enough for many small businesses to persist with a Facebook fan page. Facebook’s advertising strategy now pretty much demands that businesses have to spend money to promote posts that were once widely seen by fans for FREE. This has led to many social media commentators to urge small businesses to give up on Facebook – and it seems that many are taking the hint. Anecdotally, more small and medium size enterprises (SMEs) appear to have have twigged that better online marketing results are available though content marketing, SEO, blogging and email database marketing. It doesn’t help that large businesses with BIG budgets seem to totally dominate many niches on Facebook now, making it hard for SME’s to effectively compete.
Consumers use social media as a ‘path to purchase’
According to the Sensis Social Media report, around 19% of Australians use social media to research about products and brands to buy, while 20% use it to follow brands for offers and promotions. Forty-nine per cent of those who researched certain products made a successful purchase.
The truth is, most businesses, large and small, don’t know how to take advantage of these numbers. The number of businesses that have a social media presence has declined since last year. According to the survey responses, their reason is either it ‘takes too much time’, does not provide ROI, or they simply don’t understand how to use it.
Small businesses need to take action
Large businesses largely vow to stick with social media this year. Why? Because they can! It’s where the ‘eyeballs are’ and they have resources to do social media well. They have been consistent since last year, with 0% decline in use of overall social media presence. Eighty-four per cent of them use social media as a two-way communication system and as a customer feedback mechanism.
Small businesses, on the other hand, are a bit lost on and not clear why they are on social media. The research shows that 80 per cent of them have no social strategy. Among small businesses, only 17 per cent cares to measure their ROI in social media efforts.
The conclusion here for small business is that they need to set objectives, and improve their social media effectiveness if they want to get tangible results. Be clear on what you want to achieve and while advertising plays a big factor in the game, there are other ways to connect with customers. Is it about likes? Website traffic? Customer engagement? Increase in ROI? Whatever it is, set objectives and find ways to measure the effectiveness of each strategy you employ. You need to be creative, and disciplined with your social media implementation.
ZERO marketing budget for social media advertising? Follow these useful tips!
- Focus on content – Have a clear content strategy that involves text, images, short videos, photos, and blogs. Your feed should make your audience stop, think, read, and absorb your message. Be intentional and don’t underestimate the power of well-written and well-executed post.
- Run a promotion or competition – This is one of the best ways to lure customers to appreciate your product on social media. Be creative and offer something new that will create buzz and hype about your product. Just be careful not to overdo it!
- Know your audience – Yes, we know that you have a specific target customers in mind. But who are your actual audience who follows and engages in your posts? Get to know and understand them. Being aware of their preferences will help you build a good and effective strategy.
- Capture customer data – This does not mean hacking your customers’ accounts! You basically want their names and emails and you can do this through Facebook online forms. You need this to generate leads and in return, offer them something like e-book or promotion code.
- Measure ROI of each strategy – While it’s fun to be creative and try out new things for our business, it is most important to know which one works and which one doesn’t. Although there are third party statistics providers that can do this for you, one simple way is to ask your customers where they found you after purchase.