Helping Small Business Reap the Benefits of Social Media

SMBs are increasingly realizing the potential social media holds as a means of building their brands and touching customers at more points than ever before. Unfortunately many SMBs lack the capability to capitalize on this potential. That opens the door for social media-savvy MSPs to build a social media practice.

Statistics from online business marketplace OfficeArrow reveal the significant disconnect between SMBs’ recognition of social media’s value to their brand and their action (or lack thereof) upon that value. For example, while 88 percent of SMBs say they believe social media does or will impact their business, only 63 percent have a social media footprint. Facebook is by far the most popular social media footprint among SMBs (61 percent), followed by LinkedIn (48 percent) and Twitter (37 percent).

A Failure of Action

Although OfficeArrow shows SMBs recognize the potential social media offers in areas such as knowledge sharing and customer support, 96 percent do not use any social media management. Furthermore, SMBs do not place the responsibility for social media in any clear-cut area of their businesses, with no single job title handling social media duties at any more than 18 percent of respondent companies.

MSPs Must Break on Through SMB Social Media Reluctance

Given some of these figures, it’s not surprising that 67 percent of SMBs do not plan to make additional investments in social media this year. At first glance, this widespread reluctance on the part of SMBs to invest more in social media management might suggest that MSPs serving the SMB market are better off leaving social media alone. But a closer look at some of OfficeArrow’s other findings suggests otherwise.

MSPs should take note of the almost complete absence of social media management among MSPs. Couple that with the lack of consistency in dedicated in-house social media resources, and a picture emerges of SMBs who could greatly benefit from social media, but do not have the in-house resources or expertise to make it happen.

An MSP viewing this picture should see an ideal, virtually untapped market. The concept of social media services will probably be tougher to sell to SMBs than more established concepts such as cloud or mobile services, but there is also far less competition. Considering how rapidly social media has spread throughout both the consumer and business worlds in the past five years, this untapped, underserved market will not likely remain untapped or underserved for too long. Will you be a leader or a follower?

TAGS: Technology
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