Social Media Emerges as Top Sales Generator for UK Small Businesses
In a recent study conducted by BT, it was revealed that social media has become the leading sales channel for a significant proportion of small businesses in the UK. Approximately 28% of these enterprises now generate more sales through social media than from any other source, including traditional e-commerce platforms and physical bricks-and-mortar stores. This trend signifies the growing importance of social platforms in driving revenue and business growth in the digital age.
- Social media is the top sales channel for 28% of UK small businesses, surpassing e-commerce and physical stores.
- 1 in 3 small business owners are excited about using social media, but 58% seek upskilling support.
- Meta-owned platforms like Facebook (30%), Instagram (18%), Twitter (10%), and TikTok (9%) are crucial for revenue generation.
- Organic/non-paid social media (25%) and paid social media posts (22%) are preferred over traditional marketing tactics like email marketing and SEO.
- 21% of entrepreneurs feel "behind the times" when using social media for their business.
- Over half (58%) of small business owners express the need for digital skills training.
Excitement and Upskilling Challenges
The study also highlighted the enthusiasm among small business owners for using social media as a sales tool. About one in three entrepreneurs expressed excitement about leveraging social platforms to reach and engage with customers effectively. However, this enthusiasm is counterbalanced by a notable concern among over half of small business owners (58%) who feel the need for upskilling to better navigate the digital landscape. This desire for additional support indicates that while social media is gaining traction as a sales generator, some entrepreneurs feel ill-equipped to harness its full potential for their businesses.
Digital Skills Support and the Wish for Early Education
The survey conducted by BT also shed light on the importance of digital skills training for entrepreneurs. A striking 60% of respondents expressed a wish for more digital skills support during their school years. This finding underscores the need for early education and training in digital literacy to equip future business owners with the necessary tools for success in the ever-evolving digital landscape.
The Dominance of Meta-Owned Platforms
The study also explored the most critical social media platforms for revenue generation among UK small businesses. Meta-owned platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok emerged as the most preferred choices. Facebook leads the pack, with 30% of businesses relying on the platform for sales generation, followed by Instagram (18%), Twitter (10%), and TikTok (9%).
Preference for Organic and Paid Social Media
Notably, social media has gained popularity over other marketing tools when it comes to generating sales. A quarter (25%) of businesses reported using organic/non-paid social media strategies, while 22% utilized paid social media posts. These figures surpass the adoption rates of more traditional digital marketing tactics such as direct email marketing (18%) and SEO (15%), as well as conventional strategies like partnerships and leafleting.
Challenges Faced by Entrepreneurs
Despite the potential benefits of social media, some entrepreneurs admitted to feeling overwhelmed by the rapid changes in rules, algorithms, and consumer habits. One in five (21%) expressed feelings of being "behind the times," while others reported feeling "stressed," "anxious," and "confused" when attempting to leverage social media for their business.
The Digital Skills Plea
The study's findings also revealed a plea for digital skills support from small business owners. More than half (58%) of respondents expressed a desire for additional digital skills training to enhance their online presence and engagement with customers. The areas where entrepreneurs seek the most assistance include targeting the right audience online (24%), understanding social media and creating a brand identity (21%), and cybersecurity (19%), which is vital for safeguarding sensitive business information.
Empowering Small Businesses for Success
BT's commitment to supporting small businesses goes beyond the survey, as evidenced by the Skills for Tomorrow program. The initiative has already supported over one million entrepreneurs by offering free digital skills training, courses, resources, and mentoring across the UK. This program equips small business owners with the knowledge and tools needed to thrive in the digital landscape and make the most of social media marketing.
Learning from Success Stories
Success stories like Maria's, who runs the popular hair salon Maison Style, and Stacey Kehoe, Founder of Brandlective Communications, emphasize the positive impact of upskilling on business growth and adaptability. By embracing continuous learning and staying ahead of the curve, entrepreneurs can effectively navigate the digital landscape and unlock new opportunities for business expansion.
Embracing Digital Skills for Future Success
As social media continues to reshape the business landscape, entrepreneurs are encouraged to invest in digital marketing skills to create stronger relationships with potential customers and showcase their products and services more effectively. BT's collaboration with Patricia Bright provides small business owners with valuable insights and strategies to harness the power of social media and drive their enterprises towards long-term success. By staying abreast of the latest trends and seizing the opportunities presented by social platforms, entrepreneurs can confidently navigate the digital landscape and drive their businesses to new heights.
Need Social Media Support?
If you're looking to harness the potential of social media as a powerful sales generator for your business, we've got you covered. Our expert team can provide the assistance you need to optimise your social media marketing strategies and capitalise on this thriving platform. Don't miss out on valuable opportunities for growth – get in touch with us today, and let us help you unlock the true potential of social media for your business's success.
Article by BT Group Newsroom
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