The cost of neglecting social media? £554 million

iStock_000008588532XSmall (2)Social media; everyone knows it’s important, but for many businesses, it’s a tricky, time consuming medium and doesn’t always end up taking top priority. However, new research from LivingSocial has shown exactly why putting Facebook, Twitter et al on the backburner could be a huge mistake.

The figures in the report revealed that small businesses in particular could be missing out on as much as £554 million a year collectively – simply due to the fact that they’re not utilising their social media effectively.

The research, which took into account responses from 500 SMEs across the UK and Ireland, revealed that a staggering 68% of small businesses are failing to take full advantage of the benefits of social media. Of the 4.8 million small businesses across the country, 23% earn more than £1,000 per annum through their social efforts, but more than a third are still generating less than £150 a year. On average, SMEs are earning just £170 a year through their social channels – but with proper management, there is enormous scope to earn more.

So how can your business improve its social offering and get its slice of the £554 million pie? Here are a few simple tips…

Don’t stay static

Having a social media profile with posts from months ago is almost as useless as not having one at all – it’s unprofessional and disorganised, and won’t impress any potential customers! Social media is a fast-paced, real time medium, and you need to keep up with the news and current issues in your industry if you want your company to appear fresh and relevant. If you’re not present, you’ve got no hope of engaging your client base, so take as much time as you can and post as frequently as possible.

Connect with your customers

The clue is in the name – this form of marketing is social by nature, and requires genuine interaction between your business and its customers in order to truly become effective. Ask open questions and spark up conversations in order to establish yourself in the client’s mind – even if they don’t make a purchase straight away, they’ll see you as a more approachable, relatable business, and will be more inclined to come to you when they’re ready to buy.

Share your content

Social media should be just one aspect of your overall content marketing strategy, and it provides a great opportunity for you to share other pieces of content and establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry. Sharing valuable, relevant branded content such as blogs, videos and articles with your audience is another useful way to build positive relationships with them; increasing trust and confidence in your business, and putting your message at the forefront of their mind.

Business GraphKeep track of your ROI

One of the biggest motivators for pursuing social media is effectively tracking the results you’re achieving – there’s nothing more satisfying than seeing your key stats (and sales) on an incline! Our recent blog, 6 useful ways to measure your social media ROI, suggests some handy metrics for you to track your results.

Outsource

Ultimately, even if you can’t find the time to manage it yourself, social media is certainly a medium that’s worth investing in (as evidenced by the amount of money small businesses could stand to make!) If your schedule is packed, but you still want to experience the benefits that social media can bring, consider outsourcing management of your accounts to a social media marketing professional. They’ll take care of all the hard work on your behalf, leaving you free to manage your business and reap the social rewards your small business desires – and if that’s not worth the investment, we don’t know what is!