Many small businesses in the UK lack a clear social media strategy that is integrated with their wider plans to drive their companies forward.
This is one of the findings of a YouGov study commissioned by Eloqua, which found that while 64 per cent of marketers in the UK use some form of social media as part of their content marketing, many do so without a clear strategy.
More than eight in ten respondents said they use social media channels to create awareness of their small business, while just over a fifth said they capture lead information via social media.
The majority (65 per cent) said they do not incorporate social into their demand generation activities, with nearly half of these admitting lack of strategy is the main reason for their failure to do so.
Commenting on the statistics, Eloqua's chief marketing officer Heidi Melin said companies are being held back because of a lack of clear strategy around social and demand generation.
She added: "Marketers still feel the pressure to 'go social' and improve awareness across social channels, but for those involved in lead generation, integrating social throughout the process remains somewhat of a mystery."
Small business social media checklist
In today's marketplace, the name of the game is social. This means that no small business can afford to ignore the power of social media. So how can a small business integrate social media effectively in its wider marketing plans? Here are some pointers.
• Make it easy for people to engage with you on social media. This means displaying social media buttons on your homepage, with links to your Twitter profile and Facebook page, for example.
• Integrate social media buttons in other communications, for example by linking out to these properties from your email marketing, or inviting people to connect with you digitally on your offline collateral, including flyers and business cards.
• Plan effectively with your existing resources in mind. Don't create a Facebook profile if you don't have someone who can monitor the page and respond to customers.
• It's all about content. Small businesses with nothing to say – so no blog posts or industry news – will find it very difficult to engage their target audience. Updating your site daily with fresh, interesting and relevant content will make social media engagement a lot easier and rewarding for your audience.