The latest MYOB business survey paints a typical picture of Australian and New Zealand businesses giving up on social networks.
Its not a surprise really – I wager if they run the survey over in US/UK they will get the same result. The shine and hype are starting to wear off.
When we undertook our research into the benefits of social media a year ago it was plain to see how challenging it would be for a small business to try and use social networks as well as running the day-to-day operations.
Its bloody hard work and in most cases with zero or negative ROI when you factor in the cost of using outside help such as consultants or “social media experts” – whatever they are.
Overall our opinion on the effectiveness of the main social networks are:
Twitter – forget about it as a business channel. People use Twitter to get a faster response from customer service. I use Twitter when I have an issue with my phone bill or my hosting provider. A wait on the phone of 30+ minutes can be reduced to a couple of tweets to the Twitter support account and a less-than 5 minute response.
So unless your a big business forget it or, you’re keen on providing another customer support channel that demands and expects a very fast response time.
Twitter also seems to be full of people who think themselves far more important and influential than what they really are – take a bow Donald.
Facebook – another social network that only favours big companies that can spend vast sums of cash with Facebook promote feature and ads. Its not well known but these days you pay to have access to your Facebook page fans as this article points out.
Articles can also be found speculating that social networks such as Twitter and Facebook are changing their code so only a small fraction of your fans see your posts so you are forced to use the “Promote” feature.
I think you do need a Facebook Page for your business but try not invest too much time in it unless someone can prove that a core part of your prospects are keen to engage via Facebook.
The only reason we are active on our page is we love posting funny pictures and getting a response from our fans.
LinkedIn – really good for B2B networking. Thats about it really or if you are a head hunter then get a premium account so you can contact potential candidates for job vacancies.
Google+ – social network used only by Google staff where a small handful of employees post more than once per month – vital for SEO though (hint).
So yes the shine is slowing dulling for social networks.
One very interesting stat though is that businesses are going back to the old way of communicating – email marketing. It seems the trusty email is still the best way to keep in touch with prospects and clients.