Sometimes, small businesses are quick to adopt new technology. Other times, they’re slow or hesitant or skeptical or too busy to even know it exists.
It’s that way with social media.
According to the Clutch 2017 Small Business Social Media Survey , 24 percent of small businesses have zero social media presence. That’s just about one in four small business owners.
A deeper dive into the Clutch data shows that less than half of all small businesses are actually using their social media presence on a consistent basis. Sure, a restaurant might have a Facebook page, but there’s a good chance its last post was the Wednesday night special in late July 2016.
Clutch found that only 41 percent of small businesses are on their social media sites multiple times a day. Another 23 percent are updating their social sites daily.
If a company isn’t active on social media on a consistent basis, its message will be lost. Followers are more likely to see posts and updates from companies and people who are more active on the site. A relatively dormant page is more likely to go unnoticed.
Based on this data, of the companies with a social presence , about one-third of them aren’t using social media enough.
If a company is inconsistently or sparsely posting about their business, the reach will be low even if the following is pretty high. If they’re using social media to respond to customers, they’re allowing their customers to wait too long by only visiting weekly, at best.
Facebook Remains Important to Small Businesses
Ask a small business about their social media presence. Smart money says they’ll show you their Facebook page.
Of the 76 percent of small businesses with a social media presence, an overwhelming 90 percent are on Facebook.
Check out the other sites popular among small businesses:
It’s About Time
Despite the drawbacks and the amount of work it takes to do social media right, small businesses are missing an opportunity without a social media presence.
Very few small businesses can argue against a social media presence.
And Clutch agrees, this has to be the year your small business gets some sort of social media presence.
Facebook  is probably best suited for local businesses. But online businesses may find Twitter or Instagram or even Pinterest — not mentioned in this study — to be even better avenues.
More than half of small businesses surveyed by Clutch use in-house staff to manage their social media sites. That’s probably a good start.
So if your small business still doesn’t have Facebook page, assign someone to get one set up as fast as possible. Arm them with a logo and some photos, and all the pertinent information about your business — hours, address, phone number, etc. Getting at least a Facebook page established is a big first step.
Second, establish a schedule for posts, create some posts and then work on expanding your audience.
If you’re one of the companies with a relatively dormant Facebook page, get in the habit of posting something to Facebook at certain points throughout the day. Make it a routine. Ninety-five percent of small businesses say they plan to put more into their Facebook efforts this year. But putting all your time and effort into one site is probably not the best strategy.
Expand Your Reach
For small businesses with an already established Facebook page, it may be time to look at another site or sites to expand your reach.
Small businesses told Clutch they plan to invest more in social media marketing this year. And they identified Twitter, Instagram and YouTube as the sites where they’re most likely to establish another presence.
Each site represents unique opportunities for small businesses. Instagram is owned by Facebook and is more photo driven. But if you’re looking to get out from under the Facebook brand, you may consider one of the others.
Twitter requires a refined message and delivery method. It’s ideal for some promotions but not others. For example, live events or contests work great on Twitter. However, your new menu items are probably best served virtually on Instagram.
With YouTube, the investment is greater. But if video marketing is your next step, this may be the way to go.
Chart: Small Business Trends