Small Businesses Can Teach Big Businesses About Social Media Strategy
|Author: University of Portsmouth||Published: 27th June 2012 10:01|
Big businesses would be better off copying the tactics of smaller businesses in terms of their social media activity, according to a marketing specialist.
Dr Lillian Clark, of the University of Portsmouth Business School, said small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs) are much more likely to be striking the right tone on social media platforms than large numbers of highly paid experts brought in to create a buzz by big businesses.
Dr Clark, a senior lecturer in human resource and marketing management, said it was likely that throwing huge resources at social media was not the answer for businesses.
She said: "Social media is changing the DNA of businesses and of marketing. Big businesses are flying by the seat of their pants; they are hiring large numbers of people to take care of their social media, but it hasn't been proven that earning Facebook ‘likes' adds anything at all to the bottom line.
"What matters most, and the dot com crash proved it, is that what underpins any business is the business model - is what you're selling and at what price right for your market?
"We will be studying the effect of social media on businesses' bottom line in some detail over the coming few years, but what we can see already is many SMEs are doing social media brilliantly. Informal, open communication is often at the heart of their business and that works in social media."
Marketers cite ‘return on marketing investment' (ROMI) to gauge if their activity has paid off, but Dr Clark argues that ROMI should be based on understanding how much customers are worth rather
than how much they are spending.
"Being able to measure the return on marketing investment in social media has been described as the holy grail, but the jury is out on what effect all the money being spent on social media marketing is having.
"What we can see is the informal, personal tone used by SMEs is having a greater effect on their bottom line than expensive social media strategies is having on the bottom line of big businesses."
SMEs account for 50 per cent of Britain's gross domestic product and employment. An example of an SME with a high profile on social media is the shaving products brand King of Shaves which includes a blog written by the CEO, a responsive and conversational Twitter feed and a Facebook presence with more than 3,000 followers. CEO Will King has gone on record saying social media helps drive his brand - not just in terms of customer awareness but also in helping the business know what customers want and changing accordingly.
It is forecast that by 2015, the number of people and businesses with social networking accounts will be more than three billion. More than 800 million people have Facebook accounts and 400 million people log on to them daily.
Dr Clark presented her latest analysis of businesses and social media at the Portsmouth Business School's annual research conference.