By Rieva Lesonsky
As social media becomes more and more ingrained in all aspects of life, it’s hard to believe that small business owners are doing less—not more—social media marketing. However, that’s the surprising finding of the latest American Express OPEN Small Business Monitor.
According to the survey, over 40 percent of U.S. small business owners don’t use social media marketing at all for their businesses. What’s more, the percentage of small business owners using social media marketing actually declined from spring 2014 to spring 2015. This was true across all social media sites except Instagram, which saw small business usage rise from 5 percent to 9 percent.
A separate study by Thrive Analyticsreports that most small business owners plan to keep social media spending the same in 2015 as last year. Not only are entrepreneurs treading water in terms of spending, but they’re actually falling behind in terms of posting. More than half (55 percent) update their social media content monthly or even less often. Just 30 percent update it weekly and only 15 percent do so daily.
Making all of this even more surprising, small business owners in the Thrive study say social media is one of the most effective marketing methods they use. So why not do more of it rather than less?
Small business owners may be caught between a rock and a hard place—they don’t have the manpower to handle social media marketing, nor the budget to hire an employee or contractor to take care of it.
How can you get a grip on social media marketing despite having limited time? Here are some tips:
- Focus on one social network that works best for you. For most B2C businesses, that’s Facebook or Instagram. For B2B companies, it’s generally LinkedIn or Twitter.
- Commit to posting a minimum number of times per week. Posting once or twice a week on a regular basis is better than nothing, and will make you stand out from the masses of small businesses who only post once a month.
- Use social media management tools to simplify things. NutshellMail, TweetDeck and Hootsuite are three popular tools to help you do things like schedule posts and see when people mention your business on social media.
- Cross-promote. Use social media to drive customers to your website or location, not just to get likes or retweets. Include links, offers and other calls-to-action to get customers to buy from you.
If you’re not getting results from social media marketing, the problem may be that you aren’t measuring them. Use the business analytics tools that come free with most social accounts to track what users do after interacting with you on social media. Do they visit your website, call you or buy? Find out what’s working, and do more of that