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More than 50% of Alberta businesses have no use for social media

small business in Alberta not using social media


– Alberta Business Owner

This is a common observation from business owners I’ve spoken to, so it was no surprise to read in the ATB Business Beat survey that reported just 47% of small and medium sized businesses in Alberta are using social media.

Common pushback on social media:

  • lack of time
  • relevance to their business
  • other communications/marketing methods are already working for them
  • don’t understand it
  • overwhelming
  • disbelief that it can work for them

With the above in mind, this post is geared toward small Alberta business owners who are not only reluctant but really don’t have the time to think about nor make use of social media. (This is a five minute read.)

Here’s a question: How much do you currently spend on advertising or marketing per year? And how much new business can you directly attribute to this advertising or marketing?

I like to ask because many business owners (myself included) will throw a couple hundred (even thousands) of dollars for traditional advertising like T.V., newspaper or magazine, without even thinking twice about it. I spoke to one business owner recently who spent nearly $2k a month for ads on a major network (not including the price to actually develop the commercial.) However, they could not identify how much new business they acquired as a result of those ads. We’re so comfortable with traditional methods of reaching people that we don’t consider whether it’s still effective or not. The reality is that if you’ve ever purchased a print, radio or broadcast ad – even locally – you know that they can be thousands of dollars depending on the publication or network, as well as the placement (OH – and add the design costs on top of that!)

The dandy thing about social media and digital marketing is that you actually have access to data and insights that can help you make better decisions with your advertising dollars. Beyond being an additional way to generate ‘word-of-mouth’ buzz about your business, it’s a proven way for businesses to reach people they otherwise wouldn’t be able to and on a scale that wasn’t possible before. Using sites like Facebook, you can drill down to your ideal client type and focus on getting information to them using the right information at the right time (which is much more efficient than putting a blanket ad in a publication and hoping the right people see it!)

Example: Local Knitting Group

A group of local knitters want to reach a broader audience. They’ve been selling at local markets and know that if they could reach more people, there would be more interest in their products. They decided to start a Facebook business page with the objective of creating more awareness about their custom, handcrafted products. Their second objective was driving traffic their online store. They created a one week promotion and used Facebook advertising to get thousands of people viewing their ads for just $100. With the success of their awareness campaign, they decided to run a lead campaign directly to their website. This campaign resulted in twenty-five new sales! All in, they spent $200 on both ad campaigns and made $500 in new sales.

No matter which industry your Alberta business belongs to, you should consider the impact social media could have on your bottom line; and how far you could spread your advertising dollars.

Not sure where to start?

First, identify your goals. Why are you interested in using social media for your business? (Awareness? Insights? Sales?) What do you want to achieve? What does success look like? Second, identify your resources. How much time do you have? Who will be handling it? We know that you cannot pay your bills with likes, tweets, retweets and shares – make sure that any time you spend planning or executing your social media program is focused!

Here’s a guide to get your started.

Upcoming Alberta Social Media Workshops:

Social Media for the Reluctant Business Owner (Calgary | May 30)
Short on time, money & patience to tackle social media? Learn how you can leverage social media for your business without losing your mind in the process. I will walk you through hands-on training that’ll get you up-to-speed online with tools, tips & shortcuts to fast-track your social media program and cut down on headaches!

No Bologna Marketing for Small Business (Fox Creek | June 8)
Marketing your business can be overwhelming. What works? What doesn’t? Learn where to focus your time & energy to get the results that matter! Through two hours of hands-on training, I will show you how to develop a marketing program that can generate awareness and boost your bottom line (without breaking the bank!)

Need help? Get in touch!

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Kat Macaulay, BA ADdPR BnC
Kat Macaulay, BA ADdPR BnC
Kat Macaulay is a Marketing Strategist, Writer + Speaker known for her no-nonsense approach to pretty much everything. Using data insights, she helps organizations market more effectively to get results that matter. She's also a high-scoring instructor at Mount Royal University, where she teaches Social Media Analytics and Google Analytics + Marketing Measurement. She holds certifications from Google, as well as Facebook and is currently working toward a specialization in Marketing Analytics and a certificate in Data Science from IBM. When she’s not busy juggling kids, volunteering + work, she’s busy planning her retirement to Cape Breton.