At first glance this suggests that most small businesses are using Facebook as a source and are also actually winning business from it!
But hang on, all is not as it seems in my view.
Their opening statement “Over one third of UK small businesses say that they now use Facebook to drum up new customers – more than local directories such as Yellow Pages and Thomson and substantially more than print or online advertising.” suggests to me researchers who are looking at the core data but actually not able to accurately interpret exactly what that data means.
Let me explain why.
If you asked 100 businesses ‘do you use Facebook’ then many will answer Yes, and even show you the nice logo sat on their website linking through to the social media site. But those of us who earn a living in the internet marketing world know full well that they are (mostly) producing zero actual business from such a simple approach. Unless there is a concerted marketing strategy that appreciates how social media works and how it needs to intertwine with your other online/offline activities then you may actually be doing your business a disservice!
Think about it. A website owner puts a link to Facebook on EVERY page of his site enticing visitors to leave his site. His Facebook page (usually) has pretty much nothing new to say, so the ex-visitor decides to catch up with their mates on their Wall while they are there!
The bottom line is, playing with social media can work against your online marketing startegy – unless you do it properly.
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