Small Business and Social Media in 2014


Mobile phone showing social media apps

My predictions for Small Business and Social Media in 2014

I think we are all past the “Is social media for small business just a fad” mentality. A SalesForce report says around 50% of small business are using social media in one form or another. When I look at how most small businesses are using social media, I only see about 10% actually harnessing some part of social media’s value for their business. Why is that number so low? It’s mostly caused by confused usage of the social platforms, inconsistent strategy and poor execution.

Social media continues to be the Wild, Wild, West. Every day, new platforms and new tools emerge, merge, go away or re-brand themselves. It’s really confusing for the small business owner, heck, it’s confusing for me and I’m supposed to know what I’m talking about.

Also, it takes time to learn and once you learn it, you need to practice and stay current. Most small businesses just don’t have the time or resources to do social correctly. Couple that with the stubbornness that most small businesses insist they can “do it all” and it’s no wonder they fail. While you are giving that some thought, let’s look forward to this year.

I’m going to make these predictions for what successful small businesses will do with social media in 2014.

  1. They will go visual. Social is moving more visual anyways and it’s is much easier to post an image with a caption than find the time to write a blog post or create new content all the time.
  2. They will embrace mobile. Both to reach out to their customers and to post all those visual social images and videos.
  3. They will benefit from the analytics coming from larger businesses. Google Analyitics is free and powerful and a key tool to track results from social media. Other services are seeing small business as a viable revenue stream and providing free and low cost reporting platforms as well.
  4. They will rework their website to display properly on mobile devices and integrate social media much more deeply into their site.
  5. They will recognize they cannot possibly do this entirely in-house and finally relent and get some outside talent to help. This doesn’t mean hiring a full-time consultant and it doesn’t mean hiring a 14 year old that “knows social media.” It means finding someone that can help with both the strategic and tactical with the assumption someone on staff can take over the tactical in a 3 to 6 month period.

So there you go. It’s pretty widely accepted that when done right, social media is a cost effective way to communicate to both your existing customers and new customers.

Can you make it happen.

Thanks to Jason A. Howie for the image from Flickr Creative Commons.

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