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Small firms question the value of social media

A new survey of small businesses has found that less than half are convinced about the effectiveness of social media as a sales tool.

The poll of 1,000 UK small businesses by media consultancy firm Deal With the Media found that that almost two-thirds of SMEs have no evidence that their social media strategy has had a positive effect.


It asked small business owners: "Accounting for the time you spend on it, do you feel that social media marketing has been effective for your business?". The results showed that:

  • 62% said they were "uncertain, disagreed or strongly disagreed" that social media marketing had been effective for their business;
  • 30% agreed that it had been effective;
  • 8% strongly agreed that it had been effective;
  • 13% disagreed that it had been effective;
  • 5% said that they strongly disagreed that it had been effective.


According to a 2015 report by the Social Media Examiner, the majority of the UK's five million SMEs spend between six and ten hours a week marketing their businesses via social media.


However, feedback from those polled by Deal With the Media reveals that while many business owners are using social media consistently, they are finding that it doesn't deliver tangible results.


Tessa Killingbeck, from Norwich greetings card company KillingB, said: 

"I have used social media for almost two years, and have found that the use of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram results in next to zero sales."

John Fretwell, from Dorset-based online deli Deliamo, said: 

"After a year of pushing our brand via Facebook and Twitter amongst others (as well as engaging a social media marketing company) we have seen little tangible ROI from the time and money spent. Our customer base has grown pretty well over this period, but our analytics and customer feedback tells us hardly any new business came via social channels."

Pete Walter, Deal With The Media founder, said: 

"At the moment social media isn't working for the majority of small businesses. Most of the UK's five million small businesses spend between six and ten hours a week marketing themselves via social media, making their businesses feel modern, digital and connected to their customers. The unfortunate reality is most of are wasting time and money in doing so."

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