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Small Business Has Problems with Social Media

Social Media ROI Not So Hot for Small Businesses

Manta, a fast-growing site that promotes small businesses,

Manta's Small Business Social Media Survey

Manta’s Small Business Social Media Survey

recently came out with a survey on how small businesses are doing with their social media efforts. Also last month, both Forbes and USAToday ran stories based on that survey. The Forbes piece was titled, “Why Small Businesses Are Losing On Social Media.” The USAToday piece was a bit stronger, “Study: Social Media a Bust for Small Businesses.”

If you actually look at the numbers, I think you’ll decide that the newspapers exaggerated (what a shock!), but read on to get the REAL scoop….

Manta’s survey says, “…more small business owners (nearly 26 percent) are investing in social media, online advertising and marketing. More than one in three small business owners dedicate between one and three hours each week managing their social media channels, while 10 percent spend more than 10 hours.

However, 61% don’t feel they are getting a return on their investment, even though half of the companies surveyed said that they increased the time that they spend on social media.

So please scroll on down to read what John Follis, a well-known ad man, writing for Small Business Trends, says…..

Social Media Not Working So Well for Small Business

The Manta study was not a surprise. Despite the social media hype, I know that many small business owners are having a hard time justifying the expense of a social media marketing effort – no one likes to be unclear about what they’re paying for and that’s especially true with small business owners.Money flying away

It’s hard to spend hundreds, or thousands, on something you can’t show or clearly explain to your spouse. While we know there’s no guarantee on ROI (Return on Investment), we like to see what we’re paying for and have a good sense of its value.

You’d think things would be different from 100 years ago when John Wanamaker famously said, “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.”

If he were commenting today referencing social media, it wouldn’t be, “Half the money I spend is wasted”, it’d be “60%.”

Social Media experts will argue that it’s not working for 60% of small business owners because they don’t truly understand it; they’re going about it wrong. They’re not working with the right people and they’re not giving it enough time. All of those things may be true, and all of those things can be said about all marketing.

While some liken social media, and social media experts, to the necessary evil of auto maintenance and auto mechanics, journalist B.J. Mendelson takes it a bit further. He calls social media BS. In his new book, “Social Media Is Bullshit,”

While I appreciate Mr. Mendelson’s perspective, it seems harsh. Anything that provides a platform to present our product, service or perspective to our target audience and potentially engage them, isn’t BS. Confusing? Yes. Over-hyped? Probably.

However, Mr. Mendelson is right about one big BS aspect of social media: most Facebook Friends aren’t really friends and most Twitter Followers don’t follow. Adds Regina Hartt of Hartt’s Pool Plastering: “No amount of Facebook Likes is going to sway a prospective customer to spend 5 to 40k on a pool plastering job.”  So, that’s the problem I see with social media.

Even social media rock star, Gary Vaynerchuk, admits it’s a confusing landscape. I just returned from a Digital Summit where Vaynerchuk spoke and stated that “Marketing in 2013 has never been harder.” He then added, “But you have no choice. You have to do marketing.”

He’s right, we have to market. There just may be better ways to do it than with social media.

Thanks to John Follis – a very interesting ex-Madison Avenue advertising exec! He has an excellent blog.

If you want to read more stories in this blog, CLICK HERE so that you can scroll through.

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  1. Martin Siegel says:

    Social Media is still in its infancy.Many of those involved are doomed to fail. Direct Marketing(targeted marketing )has been proven over and over again to be the most cost effective, most successful way to build identify, sell, and build long term relationships with clients and potential clients.David Ogilvy, Bill Bernbach and many other GIANTS of our beloved industry have been touting this for years.(actually DECADES!!)

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