Often I hear SME owners complain that social media is just not giving them their return on investment they were expecting. So today we will discuss how small business can effectively utilize social media platforms. As well as discuss how B2B can benefit through the use of social media for effective and efficient communication, and the possible security risks involved.
Why small businesses are losing on social media
Social media use in business has been trending upwards with an average of 55% of small business owners using some sort of social media platform.According to a recent study, nearly 60% of small business owners using social media platforms such as Facebook have reported not seeing any return on their investment. According to Ted Rubin the reason for the lack of ROI for small business owners are; they have been set up to believe by social media “experts”that by simply opening up a Facebook account, they are opening the floodgates to an internet worth of sales. In reality though, for social media to be a successful marketing tool for SME, they need to spent a lot more time listing to customers, finding leads and building relationships rather than just posting about promotions. Rubin explains that small business owners need to focus on the return on relationships rather than ROI.
How can B2B make use of social media platforms
A recent study based on a model using Media Synchronicity Theory (MST), showed that businesses often used social media as a channel to communicate with customers. Yet there seems to be a lack of utilizing social media capabilities in B2B communication and collaboration. Social media platforms are allowing for teams across various departments and organisations to effectively and efficiently communicate instantly. They no longer have to meet face to face to discuss progress of a projects or attend to escalations needing urgent action. A study conducted pointed out four capabilities of social media in B2B communication and collaboration
- Transmission velocity (The speed at which transmission occurs). Social media offer instant transmission of messages, also allowing for a pre-transmission presence where you can see who is available online.
- Parallelism (The number of simultaneous communication that can occur on one medium). Social media platforms have provide features where you can decide to “group” team members together for bulk communication. This feature is effective when there is a change or request for a current project with team members across different regions and organisations.
- Rehears-ability (The ability to review message before sending). Social media allows for sender and receiver to review messages before sending,whereas phone calls or face to face meetings have less rehears-ability.
- Reprocess-ability (The ability to re-visit a message). Social media keeps a linear time orientated record of individual and group messages. Although it is necessary for important messages to be transferred to a more formal and permanent location.
Security risks involved in using Social media
One weakness of using social media in B2B communication and collaboration is the possibility of information leaks and hacks. According to one journal article, most businesses are concerned that important and confidential information can easily be forwarded to the wrong person,with limited ability to retract messages. Businesses are also concerned with how well the information and accounts are protected against outside threats such as hackers. To help you in protecting your business, here are 5 tips on how to secure your social media platforms.
- Train IT personnel– Managers and IT need to be fully aware of any security risks for the business when using social media.
- Institute a policy-Set down policies for the use of social media in the workplace.
- Maintain ongoing monitoring and security– Once a policy is in place, managers and IT must ensure adherence of policies. Regularly update and remind employees of teh policies.
- Lock down social settings– Train personnel in incorporating maximum privacy settings on their social media accounts. This will limit the opportunity for outside threats to get access to confidential information.
- Train employees in the use of social media platforms– Ensure all employees are well educated in the features and use of social media to avoid accidental information leaks.