A survey of 500 SMEs by TalkTalk Business has found that only 1% of UK SMEs use social media sites such as Twitter and LinkedIn to generate new business prospects, and that 43% are not comfortable using social networking sites.
A separate study by Glasgow Caledonian University and IT firm NSDesign found that many of the small businesses which do use social media haven’t found it very beneficial. 40% said they get no return at all from their presence on Facebook, a quarter of the firms that use Twitter don't find the website useful and 35% of those with blogs say they don't give returns.
The Business Incentives Group, the Glasgow-based supplier of branded promotional products and clothing, is bucking the trend. They are hosting a Twitter-based t-shirt design competition as part of Social Media Week, for which Glasgow is playing host city. They have just launched a dedicated website where they will sell the t-shirt bearing the winning design.
While most events for Social Media Week take place offline, this is an entirely online competition, with budding t-shirt designers being asked to tweet their pictures, quotes, QR codes or any other ideas using the event hashtag #SMWTShirtFactor. They'll be blogging their assessment of the entries as they come in on their company blog. The judging process is entirely democratic, as the most retweeted entry wins.
The company will print the t-shirts, retail them on their specially created online shop and will also be on hand to help promote and market it. All profits will go to a charity of the winner’s choice.
Maria Barr, sales and marketing manager for the Business Incentives Group, said:
‘We were really excited when we heard that Glasgow had been chosen as host city for Social Media Week. As a Glasgow-based business which has recently embraced social media, we wanted to get involved in a way that would use our expertise and talents to offer something of value.
A Twitter-based t-shirt design competition seemed like the perfect choice for us, and it would highlight how we think social media can be integrated into a wider marketing strategy by combining online and offline elements. We also think t-shirts are the perfect medium for a message or design, as they’re effectively a walking billboard.’
Managing director Ian Adie has been called the t-shirt king of Scotland, and sister company Official Merchandising has supplied merchandise (including t-shirts) for events like the Tall Ships Races, the UEFA Champions League Final and the International Children’s Games this summer alone.
The Business Incentives Group is busy working on designs for the new Poppyscotland range at the moment. For this competition, however, they’ll be handing the design reins over to the public.
The T-Shirt Factor takes place from 12–1pm on Thursday 22 September on Twitter using the event hashtag #SMWTShirtFactor. All Social Media Week events open for registration on 6 September.