Social media is regularly held up as the communication ‘holy grail’, the way to boost your reputation with potential customers and influencers . . .
But a new survey of SMEs by networking organisation Business Network International has found that small companies are losing sales and damaging their reputation by bombarding potential customers with social media messages.
The ‘relentless’ use of social media means three quarters of business owners said they have been ‘put off’ using companies that ‘misuse’ sites such as Twitter and Facebook to sell their products and services.
However, it is important not to throw out the baby with the bathwater. Social media certainly has its place in the communication ‘mix’, with 60 per cent of respondents to the survey saying they had found social media channels such as Twitter useful for building relationships, which eventually resulted in new business.
As ever in communication it is as much about how you say something as what you say. The BNI’s national director said companies are losing sales because of a “lack of knowledge of social media and the right narrative they require to be effective.”
Common errors include:
· Treating social media sites as an extension of mailing lists
· Failing to monitor staff who then misuse the company’s social media channels
· Giving up too soon if social media engagement doesn’t immediately result in new business.
The lesson is that social media has a role to play in the SME sector, but as is the case when developing any communication, advice needs to be taken to create the right mix, content and strategy. That way you’ll get the most out of what you do without alienating the very people you are seeking to reach . . .