The rush by SMBs into Facebook and, to a lesser degree, other social media sites (e.g., Twitter) is well documented by me and others. But is it misplaced?
Putting aside the challenges of generating content and engagement on Facebook and elsewhere for time-starved SMBs the question arises: are consumers using Facebook, and social media more broadly, to get information about or find local businesses?
Data from Nielsen cast some doubt on the efficacy of social media as a lead-gen or new customer acquisition tool for local merchants. In other words, consumers generally aren’t using social media as a tool to find local merchants.
The top consumer reasons for using Facebook and other social media appear to be communication and entertainment. Reading reviews and getting deals are the top “commercial” reasons people are using social media according to the data above.
As mentioned, one of the big challenges for SMBs and their agency and sales-channel partners is content creation and engagement. These data argue that creating a showcase of customer reviews/responses and offering deals are things most aligned with consumer usage of social media sites. Everything else may be misplaced effort.
I believe that social media can be effectively used as a CRM tool; however the current expectations may be too great vs. what it can deliver — especially for SMBs. Do you agree or disagree?
Do you think SMBs are wasting their time with social media? Would it be better to spend time optimizing for search and mobile?