In a poll of 1,000 SMEs by BNI (Business Network International), 75 per cent say they are “put off” from using companies that bombard them with overt sales messages.SMEs say they are frustrated by “relentless sales tactics”, which create contempt for social media in general. Despite the negative feedback, 80 per cent of SME respondents expect to gain new business using social media in the future, with more than 60 per cent already having secured new business through social media channels. “SMEs know that they should market themselves through social media channels, but they’re still far from understanding how the medium works best,” says BNI national director Charlie Lawson. “There are businesses that have the various social media profiles and accounts, but no content; others that bombard with promotional messages, and a large proportion that don’t engage at all.” The research highlights other areas of misuse as well:
- SMEs that use social media channels as an extension of their mailing lists. The result of this is that many businesses risk being reported for spam.
- SMEs using social media as a broadcast channel, posting constant content without engaging. Personality is required to build rapport.
- There is a misconception that once companies connect on LinkedIn or Twitter, they can be added to their mailing lists without permission.
- Many give up too soon. If there isn’t an immediate sales opportunity, many SMEs quickly lose interest and cut off their possible referral opportunities.
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