American small business owners are increasing their involvement in social media this year, in order to make a last pitch effort to increase sales numbers, according to a new report from online business community Manta. The problem with this? They are not seeing a positive return on investment.
According to a recent report by Forbes, social media use is trending upward according to the survey of more than 1,235 small business owners, no surprise given the attention paid to the various social platforms by big businesses and media outlets. Nearly 50% have increased time spent on social media this year and nearly 55% say they’re using platforms like Twitter and Facebook as a primary tool for either acquiring new customers of generating sales leads.
While small businesses have a linger of hope that social media will help them turn a profit, more than 60% of small business owners say they have not witnessed a ROI from their online investment and engagement.
Small businesses may be eager to embrace social media – they may be doing it all wrong. Social media needs to be looked at as an extension of the business. It is meant to start conversations, engage clients and bring in new customers.
Here are a few quick tips for small businesses starting to engage in social media:
- Use images. People are more likely to respond to images and get engaged with your posts if something catches their eye. Be sure to post at least one image per business day on your social media network accounts. Images can include business events, products, services, trade shows, conferences, business milestones, and any other activities related to your business.
- Engage your customers. Engage customers through open ended questions – and make sure to respond, reply and retweet to anything they post. In addition, make it a priority to answer any questions asked on all of your social media accounts.
- Be creative and interesting. Sometimes it is not always about business – be funny, show personality and give your current and potential customers a reason to get involved in your social media page.
- Consistency. Make sure that your social media handles and profiles are the same. Having names on your Twitter and Facebook profile could cause confusion and may result in loosing valuable customers.
- Be on time. Observe when the highest amount of people engage or view your post via social media statistics. Spend time answering, reaching out and getting involved in coversations. Prime hours are between 8 and 10 a.m. and 4 and 6 p.m.