As new social media outlets are released and established ones gain popularity, small businesses have to compete for their clients’ attention online. Dr. Michele Granger, professor of management, and co-author Dr. Lauren Reiter recently completed and published an article titled “An Exploratory Analysis of Entrepreneurs’ Social Media Usage in Small Business Practices” that focused on this interaction.
“Very few studies have looked at entrepreneurship and social media use,” said Granger. “We believed that social media, due to its fast growing impact on retailing, was a viable area to study and because entrepreneurship can be its own area it needed to have more research done to understand what is happening in the field.”
Facebook at the forefront
Granger’s research revealed that a majority of those small businesses surveyed used Facebook more than any other platform.
“Facebook led the survey in terms of usage and preferred outcomes,” said Granger. “The majority of participants in the study believed they are more connected with their customers through social media than they were five years ago.”
Nearly half of the respondents indicated that their businesses were positively impacted through social media usage, but many also indicated that they were too busy trying to set up the business to have adequate time for social media, noted Granger.
Though it seemed the majority of respondents used social media, they felt they lacked the education to apply it properly. So how can small businesses learn to use social media?
“Small businesses should be aware of where it is most effective to connect with their customers on a personal level,” said Granger. “They must first build the relationships needed for social media to be an effective facilitator to their business.”
Granger and Reiter are currently looking to secure funding for a national study regarding entrepreneurs and look forward to connecting with more small businesses to delve deeper into how social media can be most effective for them.