Realizing the Importance of Social Media
According to the 2011 Small Business Social Media Survey, business owners are taking social media more seriously than in year past. In a survey conducted from May 1, 2011 – July 1, 2011 we asked243 small business owners ( companies with less than 50 employees) who was creating content for their social media accounts.
From their responses, it was obvious owners are taking social media seriously as more than 65% indicated they are actively involved in creating content. This percentage was fairly constant among different groups of small business owners, until we look at companies with more than then 25 employees.
Even though their participation starts to fall off, 50% of the owners of these larger companies are still involved. It is obvious, however, these executives are delegating more of the responsibility for social media content creation to others.
Who owns social media content creation?
While many companies are diving into social media, their programs fall short because they don’t clearly define roles. They fail to decide who will create content, how often and about what.
I was disappointed to see more than ½ the companies in the study are not leveraging the customers and prospects as content generators.
From testimonials and check-ins, to FAQs and discussions, companies are missing a tremendous opportunity by not actively engaging these constituencies.
Not the Intern
While it varies by company there are strong indications social media is being taken more seriously in 2011. For example: Consider the role of interns. In our 2010 Facebook study, more than 80% of businesses which had interns on staff indicated the intern was involved in social media content creation.
To us, this pointed to the fact companies were not really taking the tools seriously. If they had, they would not rely on the least experienced member of their team to lead the content development. In this year’s study, only 30% of companies with interns indicated they were involved in content creation.
Looking for Help
While many business owners believe social media is a do it yourself type of activity, there is a growing interest in hiring marketing and social media firms to support their efforts. Overall, about 10% of the companies in the study indicated an outside firm was actively engaged in the company’s social media program. While I expected large firms to look outside for help, a significant number of companies in the 6-10 person range were also looking to external resources.
Surprising, companies with 11 – 24 employees were less likely to use an outside firm. Why? We assume at this size, companies have someone on staff with time to dedicate to social media activities. As expected, the largest the companies are more likely to also have a dedicated social media employee. The comments also show the conflict between the do-it-yourself and hire-a-pro camps.
What do business owners say about getting help with social media?
- Hire someone to set up the accounts and teach you how to manage them effectively. It is difficult to keep up with them all in a timely fashion.
- Have a professorial do your Social Media. You hire a CPA because you can’t do accounting, hire a social media professional.
- These days everyone is a” social media expert” you know as much as they do.
- Hire someone who can educate you, get social media tools up and running that align with your brand.
- Embrace social media but be leery of social media “experts” and consultants.