As a business owner, do you believe social media is important for your success? How often should you engage online? Where should you engage online? Perhaps most important of all, what should you be doing to ensure your social presence is helping your business?

According to The Alternative Board’s Small Business Pulse Survey, which asked entrepreneurs and small business owners about their social media presence and practices, 64% said they monitor their social media accounts just once a week, and 22% admitted they check their social channels just a few times a year.

Consumer research shows that social media has a powerful influence on how consumers look for products and services, as well as where they ultimately decide to take their business — and their wallets.

Do entrepreneurs “get” social media? Our Pulse Survey results reveal that the majority don’t.

We’ve pulled five stats from the survey that show small business owners are missing out on connecting with current and prospective customers by failing to take advantage of social media marketing.

  1. 59% of Small Business Owners Feel Social Media is Nice but Not Essential
    For 59% of small business owners, social media is a nice thing to have as a complement to their business but not an essential part of their marketing strategy. Another 18% said they have no social media presence at all.However, a report by Deloitte reveals that social media plays an important role in consumers’ buying decisions, with 47% of millennials saying they use social media on the buying journey. Social media also featured prominently in the “inspiration” stage of the buying process, with 70% of consumers becoming aware of products through their own research rather than company-sponsored ads.
  2. 43% of Entrepreneurs Are Not Measuring Their Social Media ROIAmong entrepreneurs who use social media for their business, 43% don’t really know what they’re getting out of it because they don’t use tools to measure their return on investment. And for 6%, ROI monitoring is restricted to vanity metrics, such as views, likes and shares.Moz highlights the importance of tracking social metrics across all social channels. The good news is there are a variety of tools — many of them free — that allow business owners to set goals and keep tabs on metrics like web inquiry and revenue growth.
  3. 59% of Small Business Owners Manage Their Own Social Media Channels
    At 59%, the majority of small business owners say they manage their own social channels.Most entrepreneurs juggle a lot of tasks. When you’re working long hours and trying to conserve resources, it’s tempting to keep everything in-house — including social media management.However, this probably isn’t the best use of your time, and it can even lead to disaster if you mismanage your accounts. Kissmetrics highlighted 50 noteworthy social media blunders that led to negative publicity, corporate embarrassment and even loss of revenue for numerous brands, including some of the most recognizable brands on the planet.
  4. 66% of Entrepreneurs Have a Hard Time Finding the Right Message to Share
    For 66% of entrepreneurs, knowing what to share on social media is a challenge.According to Kissmetrics, the “fear of starting” can be just as detrimental to your business’ growth as mismanaging your company’s social content.Writing for Smart Insights, James Gurd of Digital Juggler says it’s not enough for businesses to create and share content — companies need to have a clearly defined social media strategy before they push content to their channels. According to Gurd, companies that fail to strategize give their competitors an advantage. An effective social strategy includes clear direction about “what to post, when, how, to whom and why.”
  5. 67% of Small Business Owners Use Non-Experts to Manage Their Social Media
    Among the small business owners who have a social media manager, 67% entrust their social accounts to a beginner or intermediate user instead of a social media marketing expert.In a small business with limited resources, it may seem like a cost-saving measure to assign an employee (or yourself) to manage the company’s social channels. However, putting your social media in the hands of a non-expert is a risk.Using data from Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project Tracking Surveys, Adweek compiled some compelling stats that show just how quickly social media interaction has grown in a relatively short period of time.
  • 72% of all Internet users are also social media users.
  • Facebook went from 1 million users in 2004 to 15 billion in 2013.
  • 89% of people between the ages of 18 and 29 use social networking sites.
  • Americans spend 16 minutes per hour on social networks.
  • Social network users in the 55-64 age bracket represent the fastest growing segment of Twitter users, with numbers jumping 79% since 2012.
  • 23% of Facebook users log in at least five times a day.
  • 47% of Americans say Facebook is the top influencer for their buying decisions.With a social media expert at the helm of their social accounts, small business owners can devote more of their time to growth and strategic planning.

While entrepreneurs may not fully “get” social media, TAB’s Small Business Pulse Survey shows that small business owners who do use social media have been successful in advancing their company’s strategic goals by incorporating social media into their marketing strategies. Of the small business owners we surveyed, 38% identified LinkedIn as the most effective social channel, which edged out Facebook at 32%.