Tips for Using the Web and Social Media for Small Business Marketing

Technology is rapidly evolving in modern times, and one of the latest technology and business marketing trends is the adoption of social media strategies. However, as Boston.com's Jason Keith recently explained, new data shows small businesses are still struggling to adapt to social media.

"Much like social media itself, within the small business community it's an ever changing ecosystem that has ebbs and flows no one can predict," Keith wrote.

Keith cited data from The Wall Street Journal, which were collected from more than 800 small businesses with revenues ranging anywhere from $1 to $20 million. The data found that the social media platform used more frequently by small businesses is LinkedIn at 30 percent, followed by Facebook at 22 percent and Twitter at 14. In addition, 41 percent of respondents indicated that LinkedIn has the most potential to help small businesses.

The Wall Street Journal's Emily Maltby and Shira Ovide detailed that 60 percent of small business owners see the value that social media tools may have for their company's growth. The two social channels, however, that were found to have the least potential when it comes to helping small businesses are Pinterest and Twitter. This insight into business views on social media demonstrates that these topics are important enough to spark conversations and efforts to form best practices.

"In looking at this data, it furthers a theory that I had a few months back that while small businesses continue to 'flirt' with social media, few are truly adopting it as a viable marketing channel and leveraging its full potential," Keith wrote. "There are a few reasons for that. One is that even big companies haven't yet fully figured out how to monetize and effectively use social channels over long periods of time (with some notable exceptions)."

Keith explained how time is "the biggest form of currency" for many SMB owners, and some simply don't feel they have the resources to dedicate to social media initiatives and maintenance. In addition, many small business leaders don't possess the knowledge and skills related to social channels. As a result it is a largely unproven marketing method, they have reservations about making any significant investment.

While many businesses seem resistant to Twitter, this channel could be ideal for content distribution if a business is able to build a following. In a recent Business 2 Community article, contributor Megan Totka detailed how SMBs can use YouTube for marketing purposes. YouTube is a great platform for marketing as videos have quickly become a mainstay of modern communication (check out our channel). If a company pursues video content for its website, it is easy to see how the integration of a variety of social platforms that can often generate the best results.

For instance, the video is recorded and published to the web via YouTube. A company can then embed the content on its website and use both Facebook and Twitter to notify all interested parties or followers that new content is available. That business can then also write content to accompany the video release, use Pinterest to "Pin" it to appropriate boards and circulate their brand around the web.

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