Survey: Social media pays off

August 12, 2011
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If there’s one thing most small-business owners don’t have in abundance, it’s time. But investing more of that precious resource in social media appears to be worth the effort—if it’s done right.

More than two-thirds of the 243 entrepreneurs who responded to a recent survey from Carmel-based marketing firm Roundpeg said they get sales leads from Facebook, Twitter and Linked In.

The problem? “Most businesses don’t know how to turn those leads into sales,” said Roundpeg owner Lorraine Ball, who shared her conclusions Aug. 11 at the annual Blog Indiana conference in Fishers.

Indeed, 45 percent of business owners said they get less than 5 percent of sales from social media. Ball said potential customers who make their way to a company’s website often give up if they don’t find an obvious call to action—which could be something as simple as a newsletter signup form.

Of those firms that are able to convert more fans into customers, most report spending at least 30 minutes a day on social media. Ball, whose firm offers social media services, said she recommends clients devote an hour or more each day to executing their social media strategy.

“The payoff is there,” she said.

But at what cost? That is more difficult to measure, but one thing is certain: It’s not free.

“The tools are free,” Ball said, referring to the social media platforms. But time is money, and most small-business owners said they are personally involved in carrying out their social media plan.

That’s a big shift from last year, when Roundpeg conducted a similar study. Then, interns played a significant role in producing social media content, Ball said.

“That’s good news,” she said, because it shows that small-business owners understand that social media is too important to trust to the employees with the least knowledge of the company.
 
What do you think? What kind of return-on-investment are you seeing from social media?

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