Degree: BSc Computing (Data and Information Systems)
Project title: Investigation implementation and evaluation of up-to-date Social Media strategies for SMEs
The aim of this project was to create an up-to-date best practice guide of social media marketing for small and medium enterprises. The objectives to reach this were to research traditional and social media marketing, investigate social media strategies used by SMEs today, create a survey to see how SMEs use social media, analyse SME social media pages and finally write the guide on social media marketing for SMEs.
The survey was carried out with SMEs in Swansea and received 18 responses from a variety of sectors which included Retail, Charity, Food and Other e.g. hairdressers. 100% of the SMEs responded that they had 1-50 employees. The results showed that 94% of SMEs had no marketing team/employee, but the same percentage also had a social media presence which showed that while SMEs may lack a marketing team and time and a budget, they still know the importance of social media marketing. This was backed up by 89% of SMEs responding ‘Yes’ to the question ‘Do you think social media is important for your company?’. 94% of respondents used Facebook, and 38% used Twitter and Instagram. This could be because Facebook is the most well known for marketing for businesses, and some may not find Twitter or Instagram necessary for their company. 42% of SMEs said they posted to social media 0-2 times a week and 36% said 3-5 times. This shows that they have a social media presence but are not very active, which goes back to lack of time. Depending on their sector, each SME posted different types of posts, with 83% posting sales, 55% posting customer support and 83% posting PR. 67% of SMEs said they did not find their social media strategy successful. This could be because they do not know how to measure the success of their social media or have a proper strategy to maximise their chances of success.
The analysis of social media pages involved analysing an SME from each sector that responded and provided their social media links. Their social media pages were analysed over a month for number of posts a week, engagement with posts and type of posts. An example of one SME’s social media page analysis is from the florist ‘Vintage Bloom’, who had a Facebook and Instagram page. From 27th April – 31st May, on average, they posted 18 times a week on Facebook and 7 times a week on Instagram, which is 12 average posts a week across social media. They received 744 likes, 35 shares and 61 comments a week on Facebook and 174 likes and 4 comments per week on Instagram. This equated to 41 likes per post, 2 shares per post and 3 comments per post a week on Facebook and 25 likes and 1 comment per post a week on Instagram. Across the month, 83% of their posts on Facebook were relating to Sales, 11% to PR and 6% to Customer Support. On Instagram, it was 65% PR and 35% Sales. This was expected as their main goal was to get new customers and reach more people than would be possible without social media.
A social media marketing guide was then created for SMEs in Swansea which included these steps:
1. Consider what sector they are in and how social media marketing can help to reach their goals
2. Choose their target audience and what social media platforms to join
3. Decide what kind of posts to post and choose an appropriate upload schedule
4. Lay out social media metrics to see whether their social media marketing is successful
5. Build strong relationships with your audience
Social media marketing is a continually evolving field which requires more research for SMEs. Every SME has a different strategy with a variety of post times and post types a week across sectors which could be because there are no set guidelines for SMEs for social media marketing. SMEs need to keep track of their social media marketing strategy and its success using metrics like the ones mentioned in the guide or they may fall behind amongst the bigger companies and SMEs who have successful social media strategies. SMEs that are currently struggling with their social media strategy, can be chosen for a case study and have this guide tested with them. It can also be tested in different localities to see how generalised it can be and how useful it is for SMEs.
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