I ran across the following post on Business Insider titled “Dive Head First Into Social Media With These Tricks From Experts” and two things stood out for me in the article.
First, and we have heard this many times, is that 31% of small businesses use social media. While that is still too low a number, it is at least good growth from the previous year which showed that 24% of small businesses were using social media.
When you take the next step to understand “why only 31%?” you quickly land on a lack of time on the part of small business owners. We agree that this is at the top of the list. But, the lack of time continues to be an issue even after you decide to start your social media campaign - especially for those local businesses that are single owner and only have a few employees. I have seen many Facebook pages opened with great intentions and then after a couple of months the posts and updates dwindle down to zero.
Heck, we have not even done a great job managing our own Facebook, Twitter and FoundTown profiles - and we are in the social media business. So, lack of time plays a HUGE role.
What about those businesses that never even start a social media campaign? Well, certainly time is a factor here as well. Coming in a close second is a lack of understanding of social media. In other words, there are many businesses that want to harness Facebook, Twitter and other platforms but simply don’t know how to start. The good news is that there are many local social media consultants that can help with the setup and even the on-going task of keeping the accounts up and running.
But, I do think the second thing that stood out for me in the article is also the most important. Understanding your target market:
"All this assumes you know who your target market is. And many small business owners don’t really understand that. A dentist, say, may simply regard his market as people with teeth. But, in reality, we know patients only travel a certain number of miles to see a general dentist. So the target market, really, is people who live within a specified area."
This is an important point for two reasons. Make sure you know that the time you spend nurturing your social media presence is time well spent. If you have limited time, try to streamline the process and keep it targeted. The article also mentions that roughly 50% of the US population uses Facebook, while only 8% uses Twitter. Those are interesting target market statistics. If your audience is young, technical and early adopters - Twitter is great. For the rest, Facebook might be the right choice (I will skip the obligatory “FoundTown is the best option” comment)
This had me thinking about our businesses on FoundTown. What are they really using?
Well, we launched late last year and currently have 204 businesses on FoundTown in a small four city area outside of Dallas (our beta launch cities). In total, we have a total of 105 social media accounts listed - 63 Facebook accounts and 42 Twitter accounts.
Now, many of our businesses list both a Facebook and Twitter accounts. This means the number of businesses that don’t list any social media presence on their profile is greater than 99. In fact, as a guess, I would place the number at around 125..
So, out of 204 businesses, roughly 40% have a social media presence - slightly above the average listed in the article. This makes sense. Many of our early customers would be early adopters and fairly savvy.
What is interesting to me is the high relative percentage of Twitter accounts. For most of the small businesses on our site I would assume that Facebook is a much more relevant place to start. Now, there are many businesses that are listed on FoundTown that have simply not listed their Facebook (or Twitter) account for some reason. So, the numbers are a little harder to truly peg.
Given all of this, the quote above also rings out for another reason. Local Relevance.
One thing that is critical in planning your social media campaign is keeping it targeted to the local community. We obviously believe this to be a vital point and the primary reason we created FoundTown!
So, two questions for our readers: What made you choose Twitter vs. Facebook?
and “What tips do you have for managing your social media presence?”