Business development · 6 October 2015

Facebook and Twitter are a waste of time for the majority of small businesses

Using Twitter and Facebook hadn't made an impact for many small firms' revenues
Using Twitter and Facebook hadn’t made an impact for many small firms’ revenues

The majority of small firms are struggling when it comes to social media – with two-thirds admitting there was no evidence their strategy was having a positive impact.

While small business owners spend an average of six to ten hours a week marketing their companies online, research by media consultancy Deal With The Media, has found most are finding it tough to make it work for them.

For 62 per cent of the 1,000 small firm owners and directors who took part in the survey, using the likes of Facebook and YouTube had brought little success. They are both huge platforms, each with more than one billion monthly users, but entrepreneurs said using these sites hadn’t made any discernible impact on either revenues or brand awareness.

Some 38 per cent felt utilising Twitter and Facebook had been a help to their business, but for many, a dedicated approach to social media hadn’t been particularly rewarding.

Tessa Killingbeck is the owner of greetings card company KillingB and has been using a variety of social media for two years, but has seen it have little to no impact in terms of sales. “I used to spend a long time creating exciting, eye-catching posts for daily reach. But while people may like a picture, it will not translate in a sale or even a click to my website,” she said.

Similarly, the owner of Dorset-based online retailer Deliamo, said he had kept an eye on analytics as well as customer feedback to assess what impact his use of social media was having on the firm. John Fretwell said he had driven “hardly any new business” from the postings.

A similar study from Hiscox a couple of years ago said the most common reasons businesses gave for engaging with social media was to help brand awareness (27 per cent) and boost sales (15 per cent).

Nielsen found that 53 per cent of adults who use social networks follow particular brands, while four in five internet users visit blogs and other social platforms, so there is evidently scope for small businesses to win new customers, or improve their brand reach on social.

Part of the problem, as Reflect Digital CEO Becky Campbell pointed out, is that many firms try to cover too many bases and end up compromising on quality and effectiveness. She wrote for Business Advice about how to decide which channels to opt for and how to make sure you optimise your time effectively while making the most of social media.

Image: Shutterstock

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Rebecca is a reporter for Business Advice. Prior to this, she worked with a range of tech, advertising, media and digital clients at Propeller PR and did freelance work for The Telegraph.

Business development