Does Social Media Marketing Work For Small Business?

After a interesting conversation on my Google Plus page based on the question has anyone seen any direct sales results based on their Social Media programs, I came up with the following conclusions about Local companies and how they can use Social Media. You can see the conversation here:

Social Media does not in and by itself create sales, what it does do is add value to all your other methods of marketing.  It’s like adding high octane gas to your marketing tank, or 4 hour energy 24 hours a day for your branding, or super vitamins for your marketing program.

Social media is not advertising

Social media is just one piece in a businesses P.R. and Branding

Social media is reputation management.

PR is making the Public aware of your brand and company. Social media plays the biggest roll in this.

On average a new customer will see your message 7 to 11 times before buying. Social media is one – three of these touches.

You can not quantify directly the role of reputation in your sales. You can however use correlation, and then it is clear, selling a known brand out performs the same exact service/product under an unknown brand.  Today Social Media plays a large role in your reputation.

Social Media does not in and by itself create sales, what it does do is add value to all your other methods of marketing.  It’s like adding high octane gas to your marketing tank, or 4 hour energy 24 hours a day for your branding, or super vitamins for your marketing program.

Those are the main points I would make to any small business thinking of using social media.


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7 thoughts on “Does Social Media Marketing Work For Small Business?”

  1. Social media isn’t for everyone, or every business. We have a facebook page and a twitter account, but see more value in the G+ community. As a small business, who has time? We are building and remodeling all day, that’s what we do. The best form of advertising for a remodeling firm is doing great work! Then you hope your customers will tell everyone on socail media or neigborhood sites. Maybe what we should focus on is asking customers to talk about us on line, instead of yelling how great we think we are all over the Internet. 😉

  2. Well said Julie…I love the distinction you make with customers talking about your work on social media and trying to tell everyone you think you’re the best. I like some of your stuff Mike but I think when it comes to this article/discussion, you guys may have missed the mark. I agree with what you say about brand exposure and how it brings recognition, however social media changes the playing field a little. Its a 2 way street not unilateral like other marketing platforms. People on social media don’t care to see a brand thrown at them and it can easily have the oposite effect than expected. They recognize your brand but find you annoying to death and start resenting it… Brand identity is much more important than brand on social media. Further more, even with a good brand identity unless you bring value to their lives people will not react that well. 10 posts a day with self serving links on my facebook, twitter, etc. Will get you in my blacklist so fast you won’t have time to react. Offer me something of value that I like the same as my facebook friends do, I like you better. Connect with me and help me with something on a personal level and I will go around with pride telling everyone how “Xyz” company reached out to me and gave me whatever solution, answer, thing, I was looking for. People demand social responsibility and value from companies now. We’re Blue, pretty, and “pretend” to be the best and never make mistakes worked back in the 20th century. This is a new world…companies need to be transparent and bring value to our lives. The new generation does not want to be a “target” because of their demographics…They will call you empty and move on.

  3. It is interesting how much emotion the topic brings out. Seems like there are two schools of thought, and I think both have merit. If you are Coca Cola, Social media is huge. If you are a local Plumber… not so much?

  4. Social media primarily builds relationships and gets your business more exposure; however, it does drive some direct sales. In the past week or two I know a new community on G+ generated a sale from a brand new contact on first connection. That same business selling wholesale sunglasses generated two sales from pinterest. (I don’t happen to know if those were from them pinning their own products or from others pinning them; I did notice a lot of pins by others of products on their ecommerce site.)

    Social media does not convert like search traffic. Nothing does. But it does increase your customer base if done well. The primary goal is to increase visibility to get them to your site to add them to your list so you can build a relationship.

    Recently I have seen posts claiming email marketing is dead and direct mail is useless and you should never pay to advertise in the print yellow pages. Those people are wrong. All of those forms of marketing still work. In some cases they work better now than they did historically – if you do them wisely – because there is less mail and more people use email now than ever before.

    Many big brands and small businesses are doing social media wrong. They are using it as yet another platform for one-way broadcasting. What people want is interaction and to be heard – not to be constantly bombarded with promotional tweets or nothing but advertising.

    Many mistakenly believe they should only tweet their own content. No. Or only pin their own products. Again, no. Unless you are a celebrity or some major brand with wide-eyed worshippers you need to share more for others than for yourself. The usual recommendation is 1 of your own and 9-10 of something else.

  5. @Gail Excellent points . I agree with all of it. It does seem that the few direct sales I hear about on Social seem to be B2C. Not much yet on B2B success.

    I would only hesitate on the yellow pages.

  6. Our clients have seen dramatic growth in their New Customer and Repeat Sales through their Social Media Activity…But hey still integrate with traditional marketing strategies, blended in detailed Written Marketing Plans.
    One dramatic impact has been at Trade Shows, where some business owners are being treated like “rock stars’ by the public who have followed through their Social Media Platforms

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