A Spin on the Grim Predictions for Small Business SEO and Social Efforts

Anna Ritchie : Community Maven
Anna Ritchie
Marketing & communications practitioner, and product manager for TMCnet. Focus on content marketing and social media with a specialty in Online Community-building for businesses. Follow @Connectincloud and @apritchie
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A Spin on the Grim Predictions for Small Business SEO and Social Efforts

Small Business Marketing Challenges

In a past post, we discussed the challenges some small companies face while trying to obtain high search engine ranking for their websites. Challenges included lack of history/back links to their site, not enough content generation and strain on resources trying to sustain the activity needed to drive SEO. But, the moral of the article was not to discourage small businesses but suggest Online Communities, specifically ones that as a solution that can help streamline efforts, minimize workload and integrate various marketing initiatives to reduce costs and boost sales.

SMB-focused analyst company Techaisle recently published the results of their social media study, which also portrays a pretty grim picture of small businesses struggling with social media marketing initiatives. The study found that these small businesses want to do more with social media but don’t feel they have the necessary experience or strategy to implement it properly, with 45% of respondents stating they are “not sure how these technologies would help our business.”

Taking Control, and Taking Chances

Many of our clients come to us with similar questions: How can we incorporate social media into our marketing efforts? What tools work best? What kind of content should we share? How should we get followers and monitor? How do we even start?

A few books have been published to answer these questions, like “The Zen of Social Media Marketing” by Shama Hyder Kabani, as well as countless articles, White Papers, Webinars, and Case Studies.

My biggest piece of advice is to go out there and test the waters. See what other companies are doing and emulate that. Don’t get overwhelmed, try one thing at a time, and of course test, test, and test again to find what’s really working for your company.  For example, I really like Online Communities that have a box showing scrolling Twitter feeds, not only from their company but others with similar concepts and ideas so that the site truly becomes a one-stop resource. I also like content-sharing tools like http://twitterfeed.com/ that easily let anyone share a blog post across multiple social media channels, fast. Check out this article for 5 other ways to quickly and easily “go social.”

A Global Challenge

But experiencing challenges with social media strategies isn’t just “small business” issue- as the next big thing for online marketing, most companies globally are engaging in social media in one capacity or another. According to Useful Social Media’s Corporate Social Media survey, statistics show  companies engaging with social media full steam ahead, even without dedicated departments and firm strategies and measurement in place:

  • 89% of respondents are incorporating social media campaigns into their marketing strategy
  •  77% will increase their social media budget in 2011
  • Only about half actually have “dedicated social media resources.”  

Even more interesting is that when asked “Do you feel confident that you are accurately measuring the impact of your social media marketing?” only 40% said yes, and only 55% even measure the ROI of their social media campaigns.

Companies big and small are still sorting this social media thing out, and the great thing about this is, as companies keep experimenting and implementing new social initiatives, other companies have instant access to the latest trends and concepts and can implement them for themselves. Nothing is private or secret on the internet, especially on social sites, which actually gives these small businesses and advantage they might not have had before. And, with Online Communities (click here for sample TMCnet Online Communities) increasingly become the best way to market online, I actually think the outlook for marketers of small and large businesses alike have a unique opportunity to take their initiatives further than ever before.

But that’s just my glass-half-full opinion. What do you think? Join the conversation here, or on our Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn sites.

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