We've sat through enough presentations on social media to know that it has the potential to do wonders for your sales and/or brand if you are a small sturggling business. On the other side of the coin, you can spend a lot of time on it, with little return, if you don't use it effectively.
With this in mind, we weren't shocked to discover that although more small businesses are running their own websites, the MYOB Business Monitor found that online activity was down in July compared to previous months.
MYOB CEO Tim Reed said, "The decline in popularity of online business activities was completely unexpected, particularly that of online marketing and social media. Many of these tools, such as a basic LinkedIn page, are free and can be used to raise the profile of a business and to communicate with customers".
The challenge for small businesses is to find a balance between working on the business and working in the business. Given that we are still operating in uncertain economic times it's not surprising to see that time on activities such as social media is falling.
It's easy to look at the data that MYOB found and paint a dim picture but we're wondering if seasonal factors are at play. For example, if you're a retailer chances are that you were pushing end of financial sales in order to give end of year revenues a final push. Now that things are back to "normal" (whatever that is!) perhaps the online activity we;re seeing now is more typical.
There's some pretty clear correlation between increased sales, leads and revenue with companies that have an online presence. However, we'd suggest that building a solid online presence takes time and effort that are difficult to justify for many small businesses while times are tough.
What's your view? How much time do you invest in online activities for you business? Do you think there's a benefit?