Small Businesses and Social Media – Yay or Nay?

Could your small business improve by using social media?

The majority of small businesses seem immune to the lure of social media. A potentially grisly mistake costing them $$$.

Hiscox, a small business insurance provider, polled 304 business leaders on their feelings and business uses of social media sites in June, according to Mashable.com.

The poll resulted in 64 percent of small business leaders checking social media off as something unnecessary and something they had no opinion about, according to eMarketer.com.

No opinion? Well, your (potential) consumers certainly do have an opinion.

“I usually look up a company to keep up on their deals and to watch for products,” Nicole Latti, Worcester, MA, wrote in a Facebook comment. “I’ve honestly only run into (the problem of no corporate Facebook account) once and I was really surprised. I feel that most companies have a Facebook now and to see one without was rare and disappointing.”

Consumers are using Facebook to check up on the brands, products and companies they buy or may buy from. As discussed in Facebook: A Popular Destination for Retail Promotions, 56 percent of consumers admit to using retailer’s Facebook page to keep track of promotions and products, according to Compete’s Online Shopper Intelligence Study.

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Facebook: A Popular Destination for Retail Promotions.

Facebook dominates as the leading social networking space.

According to The Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, 92 percent of social networking site users use Facebook. In contrast, 29 percent of #SM media users use MySpace, 18 percent use LinkedIn and 13 percent use Twitter. (For those of you interested, here is a link to the complete report).

An even greater statistic to marketers?

Social media consumers use these platforms regularly. The report states 52 percent of Facebook users and 33 percent of Twitter users engage with the sites daily. Adults, 35 and older, using the internet have doubled since 2008 and the numbers are only going to continue to rise.

What this boils down to is a consumer market ready for interaction on social media spaces, especially on Facebook.

“Online consumers are now using retailer’s Facebook pages as online circulars to engage with brands online,” according to Compete’s Online Shopper Intelligence Study.

Compete’s report states that one quarter of consumers now visit an official Facebook page for a retailer or a product at least a month. With approximately 56 percent admitting to using a retailers’ Facebook page to keep up with sales or promotions.

A few Retailer and Product Example Facebook pages

“Our data show that Facebook pages can be a highly strategic and relatively low-cost marketing tool for retailers to engage with shoppers,” said Debra Arbesman, Compete senior associate, retail and consumer products. “Savvy retailers are now making Facebook pages part of an integrated online shopping experience, and we expect this model will take the industry by storm in the coming months.”

More than 20 percent of consumers said Facebook pages have been “influential” or “extremely influential” in making a purchasing decision. (Just remember, social media sites for retailers can be good or bad. Having a poor social media presence is worse than having none).

Original photo courtesy of media.giantbomb.com

When’s the last time you’ve seen a T.V. commercial or print ad without mention of a Facebook page?

Are you more prone to visit the retailer or product website or their Facebook page? These are all questions we ask ourselves when hearing such significant statistic analysis on “our” habits.

Do you find yourself in any of the categories listed below?

I know I do.

Graphic courtesy of Compete.com

 

Wal-Mart’s Social Media Blunders

Photo courtesy of consumerqueen.com.

 

Wal-Mart owns a history of social media blunders spanning over a decade.While initial fopauxs are expected in social media spaces as their qualities are being defined, Wal-Mart seems to take the cake as one of the worst Fortune 500 Company’s presence on social media. Wal-Mart is not only a Fortune 500 Company but THE Fortune 500 Company, ranking in at number 1 in 2010, according to CNN.com. Their poor history overshadows any current strides – making Wal-Mart one of the number one companies wishing to purchase the “Last Night Never Happened” App to erase social media blunders.

Wal-Mart’s Disasterous Social Media History

 

  • 2006 The Hub Social Network only lasts 10 WeeksWal-Mart’s attempt to compete with then giant MySpace where actors, models and famous for something people populated the space and pushed Wal-Mart products, according to SocialMediaReinvention.com.

  • Sept. 2006 Media Reveals Wal-Mart’s Fake Blog – An indie success blog portrayed a couple’s cross country travels in an RV using Wal-Mart parking lots as their rest stops and travel experiences. Fraud. Turns out the whole scheme was cooked up and supported by Wal-Mart as a business venture. Result – Consumers felt betrayed and Wal-Mart suffered significant negative news coverage. Continue reading

Payless ShoeSource’s social media presence boosts rapport

As brands clamor to obtain a social media presence to garner the attention of their intended audience, new pressure is being placed on marketing professionals. How to create advertising without intruding on forums not intended to “sell” anything?

Social media users typically hate their social lives interrupted by large banner ads, pop up ads, spam and the like.

Who could blame them?

So, companies are now attempting to lure digital/social media producers to their marketing teams in an effort to create brand imaging. Big wig brands are beginning to credit social media forums as a powerhouse tool to reach their markets – or to create a rapport with the millennial generation.

Payless's Facebook BOGO game offers savings with a fun twist.

Payless ShoeSource®, is just one outstanding example of a nationwide brand using social media to communicate with their customers. Their Facebook and Twitter presence is both fun, flashy and yet discrete.

By simply clicking ‘Like’ for Payless on Facebook, customers are able to play the Payless BOGO Game. The game is a recreated slot machine, where every 24 hours customers are invited to attempt three times to make the slots read BOGO. If you are the lucky winner, a BOGO coupon is e-mailed to you.

What customer doesn’t like saving money?

Pictures, comments, brand news and new product releases are all managed on the Payless Facebook wall. The inviting conversation between customers and company reps allow this social media tool to bring in a good karmic vibe toward the company.

“Our team at Payless has created an energized, customer-centric organization dedicated to democratizing fashion and design in footwear and accessories for the world.”

And we believe you Payless, we believe you.