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How Local Business Uses Social Media

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How Local Business Uses Social Media
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I have maintained a theory for some time that social media and digital marketing tools in general could be a great equalizer in the battle between local retailers and their national competitors. After all, a local restaurant posting a check-in special on Foursquare is just as likely to be found as the ubiquitous offers most of us have encountered from Chili’s or Starbucks.

Unfortunately, like many silver bullets, the promise doesn’t always come through in execution. As many small business owners have discovered, it’s easier to set up a Facebook page, Twitter account, and Foursquare location, than it is to know how to effectively market through each channel. Success takes time, patience and a certain level of expertise to understand how customers will react to different types of offers and promotions.

I found the infographic below at an Intuit site and there are some great statistics that support my theory. Companies like Intuit, Constant Contact, ADP  and others should know the needs of small business and Intuit is proud to admit that they “foresaw the social media revolution“.

Reading the infographic, there were some highlights worth sharing:

  • The most common reason why small business is using social media was “it’s inexpensive”
  • The most important goal of using social media was “connecting with customers”
  • 42% of merchants surveyed are still spending “zero” dollars marketing through social media
  • 74% employ “no one” to manage social media for their business
  • I found it interesting that Intuit doesn’t seem to think that Location based marketing qualifies as “social media”, at least there was no mention of it in the graphic.

It’s clear that small business sees the opportunity as an inexpensive way to find new clients. Unfortunately, because budgets are tight, the burden to figure out how to use the tools falls on the business owner. The result is that not much gets done. Facebook pages, Twitter accounts and Foursquare locations sit unattended in the ether, like ghost towns in an old Western movie.

Sounds like a business opportunity for someone willing to take the time to package services and meet the needs of local merchants in an affordable and understandable way. In the meantime, if I were a local merchant seeking social media serenity, I would listen to folks like Zavee.com who have created a social shopping network and package merchant marketing services in their offer. It’s a quick way to market and an easy entry into a pay for performance marketing model.

How small businesses use social media - infographic
via: Intuit Websites

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