Small businesses today are constantly encouraged to utilise the power of social media to attract new customers and promote products. While many enterprises have benefited greatly from marketing on networks such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Pinterest, new research suggests some businesses could be wasting their time.

 

The study carried out by Deal with the Media, an online media training tool, surveyed 1,000 British small business leaders to see how effective they considered social media to have been for them. While one third of participants had seen great results, the remaining two thirds admitted to being uncertain, disagreeing or strongly disagreeing social media had worked for their business. This uncertainty highlighted a lack of confidence and experience in organising social media marketing campaigns designed to create results.

 

Peter Walter, founder of Deal with the Media, said: “At the moment social media isn’t working for the majority of small businesses. Most of the UK’s five million small businesses spend between six and 10 hours a week marketing themselves via social media, making their businesses feel modern, digital and connected to their customers.

 

“The unfortunate reality is most of are wasting time and money in doing so. Collectively, all that time spent tweeting and updating various sites adds up to more than one billion man-hours a year – or the combined workload of more than 520,000 full-time employees.”

 

How can small businesses achieve better results on social media?

 

Making a mark on social media requires a certain amount of experience and know-how. Here are some suggestions on how your business can get more from online marketing.

 

Learn new skills

 

With so many free resources for social media training available online, learning new skills to improve digital marketing has never been easier. Taking time to follow social media blogs will ensure you keep on top of the key trends, while monitoring other businesses’ social media campaigning is a great way to pick up priceless tips. Rather than spending hours every day on social media, SME owners with limited time can use handy apps such as Buffer or Hootsuite to pre-schedule posts each week – potentially reducing the time investment from a few hours a day to a few hours per week. Learning how to use hashtags to make your posts more visible and creating social media-friendly graphics and imagesare among steps that can lead to more traction for your business.

 

Hire a social media manager

 

If you’re in a position to recruit, taking on a social media manager with plenty of experience is definitely a worthwhile investment. Not only will you have somebody to fully focus their attention on social media marketing, you’ll also be free to use your time more wisely to concentrate on other important elements involved in running your business.

 

Outsource digital marketing

 

Another option if you simply haven’t got the time to become better at using social media for your business is to outsource. This is ideal if you’re not ready to recruit a social media manager or digital marketing team but still want to take advantage of an agency or freelancer with expertise in this area. There are some great budget-friendly deals around nowadays where you can hire an individual or team to set up your social media channels from scratch, maintain them for you and even provide regular reports on how the campaign is doing in terms of reach, click through rates and actual sales conversions.

 

Make sure your business insurance covers social media risks

 

In order to use social media confidently, it’s important to have a top-quality small business insurance plan in place. Especially if you provide advice and services to clients, professional indemnity insurance is an essential element to include. This provides financial protection when facing claims for the likes of copyright infringement and defamation – considerable risks when using social media for business.

 

 

Contact The Insurance Octopus to get your business insurance quote today.