Does social media bring you clients?

Surely it does!  Everyone is talking about it as being the latest thing in marketing especially for small businesses.  Millions of people spend hours not just every week, but every day on social media of some form so it must be worth the time spent on it, right?

I have read lots of articles about social media and the number of hours people spend using it every day and it amazes me.  Is this really productive time?  I struggle to spend a couple of hours a week on it or so I thought until a comment from Jane made me take a step back and look at where I was spending my working day and was surprised to see that I too was spending at least 1 to 2 hours a day on all my social media.

I have spoken to some small business owners recently who told me that ‘social media plays a huge part in their marketing strategy’.  So I asked them to tell me how many hours they spent on it and what the financial results were i.e. how many paying customers did it result in?  It was interesting that no one could out an actual figure on it and in general the response was that they would reap the rewards in the future.

Yes, I agree that you will not get instant results using social media. It’s all about giving people the opportunity to find out more about you and your products or services and to build trust and a connection that will hopefully bring you sales in the future.  However, how can you tell whether you are spending enough time/money or too much time/money on it?  This is where I would like to tell you about the results of a recent survey carried out by eMarketer , which shows that only 42% of small business owners who use social media marketing are receiving sales leads from Facebook, 36% from LinkedIn, and 16% from Twitter.  I don’t consider that to be very high considering that social media is being sold as an effective marketing strategy!  And remember, these percentages are only leads, it doesn’t show what percentage of these leads are actually converted into paying customers!  What it does go on to show is what these leads are actually costing small businesses – more than 70% are either losing money or at best just breaking even on their investment in social media.  Can these businesses really afford that?

I am not knocking social media per se, far from it but I don’t believe that it can be used as a marketing strategy.  Social media was originally set up as a form of social networking, not as an advertising tool, and that is where it works.  The best and most effective form of networking is face to face followed by over the phone but when these are not possible, social media provides the answer.  It allows you to connect and build a relationship with people through sharing information and contacts and it is this that will ultimately bring you clients and referrals.

In my marketing plan, social media is a sub section of Networking & Referral Building and I hope that this article encourages you to re-consider where it sits in your own marketing plan.

For more on Social Media, keep a look out for next weeks blog post!

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3 Responses to “Does social media bring you clients?”

  1. I may be an exception but social media as an internet marketing strategy works for me. In fact it is the only marketing strategy I am using since I have very few possibilities to network in person.during the day. I don’t use email marketing neither and do not blog for money.

    I am an expat with no family around to take care of my son. My husband travels extensively so I have time to work and network professionally in person only between 9am -4pm including all the duties of a SAHM and minimum of 3 hours at the gym from Monday to Friday.

    Not all of my social media activity is about building my business. I spend about 1.5 to 2 hours per day learning by reading blogs or articles selected via Twitter. I learn what’s hot in topics I am interested in. Serendipity brings me creativity and sometimes I meet people in person after a virtual conversation. .

    As an expat I use social media to connect with people who can help me build a support network “out of the blue” before I even go to a new location. Through social media I get first hand information regarding health care, schools, neighborhoods, real estate, kid activities, entrepreneur or expat support groups, I meet future friends and business partners.

    2.5 hours/day online are dedicated specifically to build my business : writing articles, participate in Linkedin groups or webminars. Moving to a new city every 2 to 3 years, the internet ROI is much higher than traditional marketing tools, I can travel with my clients in a suitcase!

    I coach the majority of my clients in person in my home office and use Skype anytime for long distance clients.

    So I spend a total of 4.5 hours per day on the internet which is the time THE AVERAGE AMERICANS SPEND EVERY DAY ON TV ! I don’t think that time spent in front of TV brings you any client and I am not interested by celebrities or other entertainment shows. I read the News on the Internet and use my HD TV set for watching movies.

    In short social media tools serve my marketing strategy very well. I got clients and I enjoy what I do on the internet as an avid learner. In addition I can have conversations with people from all around the world late at night or early morning depending on the local time.

  2. Hi Anne
    Great to here from you and thanks for taking the time to comment. I don’t think that you’ll find that you are an exception as you also seem to be using social media for networking, rather than advertising, and of course this is the best way to get clients.

    When used correctly social media is a great tool and I too get the majority of my clients via social media. Like you, I am also an expat and couldn’t live without social media to keep in touch with people and to make new connections and have interesting discusions with people like yourself.

    What I had hoped to do here was to raise peoples awareness of how to use social media i.e. not to throw money after it in the hopes that it brings customers (as the survey showed, this isn’t cost effective) but to go back to basics and use it for what it was meant – networking.

    And between you and me, what I didn’t say in my blog post was that while social media was a subheading under Networking and Referral Building, anyone taking a close look at my Marketing Strategy would see that the only heading is Networking and Referral Building!

    So just like you, I wouldn’t be without social media either whether for personal reasons or to ensure the success of my business.

  3. […] recent blog post, ‘Does social media bring you clients?’ resulted in some really interesting discussions within may of my networking groups which was […]

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