The Barriers and Benefits of Social Media with Micro-Businesses

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Social Media requires planning, time and effort. Don’t worry about having the knowledge to operate social media effectively as this will come in time. Micro-Business owners of Beauty Salons, Restaurants, Shops and a vast array of business types are extremely talented in their specialist fields. Ok you’re not Marketers but you are experts in your field of business and you should be promoting your knowledge and expertise to tell your audience why they should buy from you over your competitors. The explosion of Social Media usage in society really has been a game changer and represents a monumental shift in communication, marketing and technology.

Search the internet for research relating to Micro-Businesses and Social Media and you’ll struggle to find anything substantial. It’s all about big business and big data; well it’s time to change that. During my recent research with Micro-Business owners we discussed the problems and benefits they currently experienced with using Social Media channels such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Here are some of the most prominent benefits and challenges they faced:

Benefits of social media

Influence of friends and family network
The vast reach of social media networks
Fast flow of communication
Customers use social media to search for local businesses
Ability to conduct business on a smartphone or tablet
Good source of information
Cost effective

Challenges of social media

Lack of Training
Lack of knowledge
Lack of time
Too old for social media
Don’t know what to write about or post
Distraction from core business activities
The impersonal and imposing nature of Facebook

Benefits

Micro-Business owners primarily experienced success via Facebook to promote their businesses and were dependent on their network of friends and family to promote their products and services; this was discussed in more detail in our previous blog Social Media Research for Micro-Businesses. Facebook Groups were cited as the most successful method of their Social Media activities which indicates the application of segmentation. Although no distinct segmentation strategy was applied by any of the research respondents, they inherently knew where to find their target audience.
Most interestingly some Micro-Business owners bypassed their company websites and used their smartphones to upload images directly onto their Facebook sites. Is Social Media replacing the traditional website?

Challenges

The challenges faced by Micro-Business owners far outweighed the benefits of using Social Media and perhaps the age of the respondents (average age late 30’s) may help explain this. The research sample did not include young start-ups who’ve grown up with Social Media and ambidextrous thumbs, but late adopters of technology. Knowledge will naturally come with time and more focused Social Media usage and training.

Lack of time was the unanimous downside of using Social Media. NONESENSE! Make the time and make Social Media a priority of your business. What’s your alternative choice? Pay for a newspaper or Radio ad? Plaster online ads on Facebook or banner ads? NO! As Micro-Business owners with little to no Marketing budget, your time is all you have to offer. Research proved that spending around an hour a day on Social Media will result in increased results. Plan formally and devise a strategy before embarking on your Social Media journey. If you’re lucky enough to have employees then delegate accordingly, use the resources you have at your disposal.

Harness the power of Social Media, make the time every day and you’ll reap the benefits. It’s fun! Give it a try…

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