Social Media – What Size Business Does It Suit Best?

SMEs (Between 1 and 10 people)

This is the group that in my opinion struggle the most with social media. It’s not to say that there are not lots of success stories because there are but there are far more failures out there. The problem is often resource. Most companies of this size are incredibly busy with jobs allocated to team members who have little spare time. Often the responsibility for social media will be spread between several people meaning that it often gets neglected by them all. The pressure in terms of getting sales through social media and justifying it as a marketing channel that should be allocated time and financial resources are often too much and it often gets abandoned very quickly as a channel. Some SMEs will try and outsource their social media activity but more often than not they have unrealistic expectations of what it can achieve for them. It’s hard to make social media work effectively for businesses of this size and to do so you need patience, dedicated resource and realistic goals around what it can help your business achieve.
Brands (Large businesses with 50+ staff)

Most brands are at least thinking about social media at this stage if they have not already started. They have some challenges including internal politics, fear of exposing their brand online and resourcing to deal with but they also have a lot of big advantages including money and the ability to bring external help in to help them get started in social media. Although it often takes brands a while to get limbered up and finally engage in social media the reality is that when they do they usually have the smarts and the resources to get up and running quite quickly. With the right advice it’s not hard for brands to get going in social media but the challenge they face is the consistency over long periods of time with people coming and going and social media finding it’s right home within large organizations. The fact that large brands don’t always have to make the hard sell through social media like smaller companies try to is also a huge advantage for them.


I’ve been thinking about social media and business and in particular what sorts of businesses it works best for. The short answer is that if used correctly it can work for all sizes and types of businesses but from my experience it’s not always a level playing field. Rather than try and explain this in words I thought I simple diagram would work best…

Screen shot 2010 11 29 at 15.02.13 Social Media   What Size Business Does It Suit Best? Leer más “Social Media – What Size Business Does It Suit Best?”

Some challenges on open innovation for SMEs

This absorption Requires Extensive interface with the environment so that They Are Able to recombine , reconstruct and exploit this knowledge.

But while SMEs face many challenges , They Also enjoy some Structural Advantage Compared to large organizations.

Can Provide These Advantages with smaller companies with unique opportunities to prosper in the context of open innovation .

– Size – Its smaller dimension directs her gaze to small markets That Are not attractive to large companies. That means this new trends are seen Earlier than the time When large companies realize it.

– Focus – The effectiveness of enforcement is higher for SMEs because They did not Have diffuse goals such as in large Enterprises . The focus on a particular market, customer type, technology or knowledge Can generate a sustainable competitive advantage .

– Specialization – Specialized companies Often Can Sell Their potential for wide markets.

Structures – points of view !

The identification of a clear problem Has Been always the best starting point for Their resolution .

How Can small businesses address the Risks and opportunities presented by open innovation ?

Katharina Hoelzle says the success of Enterprise for this approach is The Successful Combination of two key dimensions:

Structural dealing with networks, process, and contracts and instruments ;

Cultural Which includes the Incentives , Barriers to innovation actors.

These two dimensions are moderated by factors of contingency . Leer más “Some challenges on open innovation for SMEs”

Report: Social Media and Small Businesses

I’ve seen more and more local success by adopting social media to local SMEs, although what they do are rather tactical and advertising focused, they started to see more and more value from social media. According to a recent study by Small Business Success Index, small businesses has doubled their social media adoption from 12% in 2008 to 24% in 2009.

Many Small Biz just want to “be on it”

Leading ways small businesses are using social media include:

  • 75% have a company page on a social networking site.
  • 61% use social media for identifying and attracting new customers.
  • 57% have built a network through a site like LinkedIn.
  • 45% expect social media to be profitable in the next 12 months.

They don’t like to spend time on it

Small businesses have a number of concerns about social media, including:

  • 50% say it takes more time than expected.
  • 17% say social media lets people criticize their company on the internet.
  • Only 6% say social media use has hurt the company more than helped it.

Other Findings

  • Company web sites are a top technology investment in the next two years, with small businesses either adding new features/functionality to their existing Web sites or building one from scratch.
  • The ability to showcase their products and services online to attract new customers is second in the hierarchy of technology investments small business owners plan to make in the next two years.
  • Social media investments rank third in small business investments to be made in the next two years.

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Why Smaller Companies Should Embrace Open Innovation

by Stefan Lindegaard


Open innovation at small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) presents both great opportunities and great challenges. Forming open innovation relationships can give a growing enterprise access to resources that might normally are beyond their reach with the potential for greatly speeding up time to market. At the same time, working with larger–and in some case much larger companies–is not without its perils.

Let’s consider a growing startup or a small company that is on its way to become a mid-sized enterprise. The early phases are very much about executing on single, great product, idea or technology. However, as the company grows focus tends to shift towards control rather than keeping the visionary thinking and bold approaches that build the company. This must be re-ignited. Open innovation can be the vehicle for accomplishing this objective.

Because of the high level of risk-taking involved with young ventures, leaders of entrepreneurial enterprises often have healthy or even outsized egos; it takes a certain amount of hubris to believe you can defeat the high odds against the success of a new venture. This can lead you to believe that you and your people have the best ideas. But in reality, there is a strong possibility that the best people and the best ideas are to be found outside your organization.

One key reason for Procter & Gamble to initiate open innovation programs was that they learned that for each of their 7,500 R&D people there were 200 people outside the company with equal skills and competences. An ignorant – and arrogant – company would ignore these 1.5 million people, arguing they do not matter as they do not work for us. P&G did not ignore this. They understood they should connect their own organization with the best and brightest from the outside world. Given the limited size of smaller companies, this mindset becomes even more important.

As I wrote earlier, SMEs often start with one great product or service idea and as they grow they might fail to recognize that innovation is about more than just bringing the core product or service to market. Innovation can occur at all stages of the business process, from the business model itself through to the customer experience. By broadening their thinking about what actually constitutes innovation, SMEs can more easily see the wisdom of open innovation, which can help them innovate in areas where they may not have internal expertise.

I will post more thoughts on open innovation for SME’s this week. Let me know if you have any comments on this or if you know of smaller companies that have adapted open innovation. It would be interesting to get to know more about their processes, failures and successes in order to get a better understanding of how this is different from large companies. Since small and large companies meet on open innovation, they need to start learning more about each other on this.

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