Social media is a key driver for online business these days. It can help businesses connect, engage and interact with audiences and can help to increase sales and boost profitability. Yet in spite of these recognised benefits, a significant number of businesses are still failing to commit to social media. How ‘significant’ is significant? Well, according to a recent poll by Manta, over a third of the UK’s small business owners aren’t currently using social media to market their businesses at all. We think you’ll probably agree that is pretty significant.
So what exactly did the poll discover? Well, the poll was originally aimed at discovering just how many businesses used Instagram to boost their businesses and give traction to their brand, but the research also highlighted interesting information about the more general social media habits of the business community. The survey found 33 per cent of small businesses don’t use social media marketing at all; 39 per cent use Facebook to market their company and only 7 per cent use Twitter. Perhaps the most surprising discovery, however, was that of all the businesses that use social media marketing; only 4 per cent actively post on Instagram. This is surprising because Instagram is probably the most popular social media platform right now. It boasts over 400 million users worldwide, and gets 500 million + monthly viewers.
So what’s the problem with Instagram? Why are too so many businesses failing to connect with it? Well, the research suggests that the main problem is down to unfamiliarity. Too few businesses understand Instagram. 39 per cent of the businesses polled didn’t know how to use Instagram; 33 per cent didn’t use social media marketing at all; 21 per cent believed their customers didn’t use Instagram; 7 per cent didn’t see any value in it and; 3 per cent claimed they didn’t have time to get to know the platform.
So what about the 24 per cent of small business that do use Instagram: why are they such strong advocates for the platform? Well, they claim it’s the ideal platform for building brand recognition, increasing exposure and supporting their community. 92 per cent of the Instagram-using businesses polled said it helped them attract new customers and retain existing ones; 41 per cent said Instagram was the perfect platform for demonstrating company values and personality; 33 per cent said it helped them improve engagement with existing customers and; 31 per cent it was the ideal platform for offering better customer service.
Speaking about the Manta poll, Vice President of Marketing, Sara Oberst, said:
“There’s no denying that Instagram is highly popular among today’s consumers. With over 500 million monthly viewers on Instagram, small businesses have a unique opportunity to capture new customers. But as our poll found, small business owners aren’t taking full advantage of Instagram for business use – only 24 percent of small business owners actively use Instagram in their social media marketing.”
“To effectively use Instagram, small business owners should first determine their goals and budget to develop an Instagram strategy. With the right goals in place, small businesses can begin connecting with their customers in a visual way. Instagram is an especially powerful tool for businesses with visually appealing products as customers are able to see photos on their news feeds and ask questions or interact with the brand before making a purchase.”