At many of the talks I do for small business owners, I start by asking the question: “Who’s using social media to promote their business?”.  Generally, around 95% of the hands in the room go up.  I then ask “Who’s winning regular business through social media?”.  About 5% of the hands stay up. Madness!  The majority of small businesses are using social media every day and seeing no return on their activity.

I think social media not working for your business is down to one of two things.

1. You’re not using social media the right way

Obvious this one!  If you don’t use it in the right way, you could actually be putting people off rather than encouraging new customers.  It definitely pays to get social media savvy.  Subscribe to social media blogs, look for case studies of social media working and replicate what that company is doing, don’t go on and sell, sell, sell – it pushes people away.  It really is worth every effort of ensuring you know the ins and outs of what you’re doing, not just in social media but in all aspects of your business.  If you send lots of marketing emails, study email marketing.  If your business uses Google’s PPC, go on a course or outsource to someone who can guarantee you’re not wasting your money.  You don’t know what you don’t know.  So learn!!  There is nothing more important in business than learning!

2. You’re selling the wrong things

Very few business people actually assess whether the products/services they sell are in demand.  It’s easy to get a very narrow view.  “This is what I know, therefore others will want to buy it!”.  You need to be really sure there is a market for what you are selling or you could find you never see success through social media, or any other form of marketing.  Market research is key.  Are there other businesses selling what you sell to great success?  If so, can you replicate their actions?  If not, does this mean there is no market?  With the knowledge you have, is there something else you could be selling?  Could you turn your service in to an info product that people can buy online?  Could you do the reverse and turn what you know about your product in to a service?  It really is key in business that you are selling the right thing to the right people.

So, if you’re not seeing success through social media, which camp do you sit in?  Are you using it right or are you just promoting the wrong thing?  Take an hour out this week to figure it out.  Then make a commitment to either learn more about social media or to reassess your products and services.

You success depends on it!