• A Citibank/GFK Roper survey of 500 U.S. businesses with fewer than 100 employees found very few small businesses in the U.S. use social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter for marketing. Three-quarters of the small business owners surveyed say they have not found social sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn helpful for generating leads or expanding business in the past year.
• A report on CBS Money Watch stated most small business owners feel their social media marketing efforts don't produce tangible results.
• And finally, according to a survey of 10,000 online shoppers by ForeSee Results, social media interactions are the primary influence for only one out of every 20 people who visit retail websites.
Shouting Into the Void
One of my social media pet peeves was recently illustrated by a marketer, who shall remain nameless. She sent me an email with the exciting announcement that she had added 1,000 new Twitter followers in one month. My reaction: So what?
"Many people measure the success of their social media campaigns based on an increase in the number of likes, follows or impressions, but none of those metrics matter if you can't close the deal," writes digital agency executive Jamie Turner. "In the end, the only thing that matters is whether a lead turned into a prospect and whether the prospect turned into a customer."
The noble aspiration of social media is to be a forum for sharing ideas and information. In my opinion, social sites, especially Facebook and LinkedIn discussion groups, often fall far short of that ambition.
Fans of social media praise these venues because they make it so quick and easy to express an opinion and publish it to the planet. But writer Harlan Ellison says this is not a good thing. He writes: "People say everybody is entitled to their opinion. They are not. What they are entitled to is their informed opinion—an opinion based on research, analysis and knowledge."
Bob Bly is a freelance copywriter who has written copy for more than 100 clients including IBM, AT&T, Praxair, Intuit, Forbes, and Ingersoll-Rand. McGraw-Hill calls Bob “America’s top copywriter” and he is the author of 90 books, including “The Copywriter's Handbook.” Find him online at www.bly.com or call (973) 263-0562.