When we put time and effort into a task, we usually want something in return. That's the mindset that many businesses have when they enter into the world of social media. And many SMBs don't see the value in using social networks, according to a survey conducted for Citibank Small Business of 500 U.S. businesses with fewer than 100 employees..
That finding might seem to be at odds with these statistics:
That's a lot of potential customers. But instead of using social media to promote goods and services, many small businesses are remaining on the sidelines. Three-quarters of small businesses say they have not found sites such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn helpful for generating business leads or expanding business in the past year.
Said Maria Veltre, executive vice president of Citi's Small Business segment, in response to the survey:
We were very surprised we did not see more use of some of the social media outlets. What this survey indicates to us is small businesses are very, very focused on running their business and on generating sales and managing their cash flow and doing the things that are really important, especially in these economic times. I don't think quite yet the social media piece of it has proven to be as significant.
But a lot of that attitude is based on unrealistic expectations, says Ben Parr, co-editor of Mashable, in an article by PCWorld.com's James Martin.
It's unrealistic to think that because you join a social network, your entire business will change.
Parr says that developing your social-media presence takes a while. Once you obtain a loyal following, then you might see some benefits.
For those SMBs that are new to social media, take a look at some of the resources in IT Business Edge's Knowledge Network. These tools will help you create a social-media account and begin to reach out to potential customers.