Thursday, July 1

Spooking Business: Maybe Social Media Set The Wrong Bar

How often do entrepreneurs post about their business on a blog? The answer might surprise you.

SmartBrief polled its entrepreneurial readers only to find that almost 75 percent of respondents say they never blog for their business. Of those that do, only 12 percent pen a post once a week. Only 3 percent post daily.

On its own, the poll is not surprising. However, SmartBrief had run a poll in May to discover that of all social media formats, entrepreneurs are most interested in blogging, with 55 percent choosing a blog over other online platforms. Facebook finished second with 31 percent; Twitter with 12 percent; and Foursquare with 1 percent.

So why don't entrepreneurs embrace social media?

While prevailing thought suggests that small business owners aren't interested in social media, the SmartBrief polls suggest otherwise. So we asked some business people we know who haven't actively engaged in social media for their businesses. This is what they told us.

1. Time. Entrepreneurs, small business owners especially, barely have enough time to get everything else done. The thought of adding an hour or four to their everyday schedule is just too much to ask. Some say they might hire someone to maintain the blog for them, but they've read enough to know most social media experts says ghosting is out of the question.

2. Fear. Most entrepreneurs don't know what to write about. Part of the problem is time, because they realize they have to study up on industry trends beyond their business. But importantly, they've read enough marketing blogs to know that there are plenty of people waiting to pounce on them for writing about what they do know about: their product or service. Worst, any mistake made online is permanent, they say.

3. Skill. What appears easy for communicators is not so easy for all entrepreneurs. They aren't proficient writers. What some social media experts, public relations professionals, and copywriters can bang out in an hour, it takes them ten hours and there is still no guarantee it will be error free or anything anybody would read. That doesn't count hundreds of apps and platforms that many communicators have grown up with over the last ten years.

4. Networks. Some of them have attended enough workshops to know that a blog is not enough nowadays. The best read blogs have networks of hundreds or thousands that hang on their every word. It's hard to attract attention when you don't have 50 people who will promote your post, whether it's good or not. It's hard to justify, they say, reaching ten people.

5. Competitors. While social media experts frequently tell small businesses they should share their secrets to success, most small business owners believe doing so will only attract competitors (not customers) who will steal their ideas. They see it all the time on marketing blogs, they say. The people at the top cherry pick the people in the middle, without so much as attribution.

While I'll slate a post to address some of these concerns, there is one overriding theme that resonated with me. The same people promoting social media adoption in the field may also be the reason why more small businesses and entrepreneurs are hesitant to start. It seems to me that somewhere along the way, the rules of how to blog have gotten in the way of why to blog.

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