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The importance of social media for small businesses

  • Lesley Mallon, founder of Think Social Media, chats to Entrihub about the importance of social media for small businesses.

    In this fireside chat, Lesley answers the following questions:

    • How important is social media for SMEs?
    • What are the pros and cons of having a social media presence?
    • How should SMEs deal with complaints posted on social media?



    Question 1: How important is social media for SMEs?

    Lesley: Well, one of the big things about social media opposed to any other platforms is social media interact with real people. So, you can reach people that you would not normally interact with on other online platforms, like a website for instance. Even though you can drive traffic to a website you cannot get an individual interaction with somebody. From a small to medium business point of view it is growing your relationship with your consumers or your customers.

    Question 2: What are the pros and cons of having a social media presence?

    Lesley: One of the definite pros is that you expose yourself to people that you wouldn't necessarily expose yourself to otherwise. For instance, you can expose your products; you can give people good information; you can give them tips; you can start interacting with people and building a relationship with the people who like or follow you on your social media platforms.

    It's also a platform for people to complain. People love complaining. And if you are not on your social media pages and you are not active on your social media pages you could actually miss somebody complaining. And that's one of the cons about social media. It's that a lot of small to medium businesses don't concentrate on that and somebody might put up a complaint and a week or two weeks later they only see it and it actually just makes your business look bad.

    Question 3: How do we deal with complaints?

    Lesley: Well, one of the first things that you need to do is do not engage on social media with those people. What I normally do for my clients is we have something called Disaster Management. We take whatever the complaint is offline. For instance, if somebody complains about a product or a service. It's immediate and for small to medium businesses you need to react within half a day. It's the same thing with sending a complaint via email- you really want to deal with that as soon as possible.

    One of the best things to do is actually to go. "Hi Sue, thank you very much for getting in contact with us. Please can you send us a direct message with your email address and telephone number so that we can get back to you right away and help you solve your problem."

    Again, taking it off your social media platforms is not a great idea but responding in that way and taking it off social media so that anybody that does see that complaint can see that the business cares about the fact that somebody has complained and they want to get it sorted out as soon as possible. Engaging with anybody on social media is a big no-no. Especially when there's complaints.


    Connect with Lesely:

    • www.facebook.com/thinksocialmediaSA
    • Twitter: @THINKsocialm
    • Instagram: @THINKsocialm hello@thinksocialmedia.co.za
    • http://www.thinksocialmedia.co.za

    Produced by Shoot 97 Productions (http://www.shoot97.com)