Curious about how other small businesses are using social media? Using social media for marketing can enable small businesses to further their reach to more customers. Your customers are interacting with brands through social media. Therefore, having a strong social media marketing plan and presence on the web is the key to tap into their interest. If implemented correctly, marketing with social media can bring remarkable success to your business.
Social media beginners and experienced users both will find helpful information here about:
- Whether social media is working for small businesses
- How much time other small businesses spend on social media marketing
- What types of content small businesses use
- Where small business owners and their marketing staff buy the most ads
1: Social Media Critical for Small Business
First, 96% of survey participants use social media marketing, and 92% of those agree or strongly agree with the phrase, “Social media marketing is important for my business.”
Keep in mind that participants self-selected from a pool of over 300,000; they are probably more interested in social media marketing than people who did not respond.
2: Facebook Dominates Small Business Social Media Marketing
The majority of respondents carry out social media marketing on Facebook. The chart below shows that 93% use Facebook, ahead of Twitter at 79%. In the coming year, 62% of respondents plan to increase their Facebook use for marketing purposes. Sixty-six percent will increase Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn activity.
Twitter is gaining on Facebook, however, and it will be an interesting property to watch over the next year or so with its new advertising opportunities. It’s much the same story for Instagram and Pinterest, which doubled its traffic from 2014 to 2015.
3: B2B Small Businesses Use Social Differently Than B2C
Breaking down Social Media Marketing Industry Report averages is useful. B2B respondents for this survey report that LinkedIn is their number-one choice for social networking.
B2C companies, on the other hand, go to Facebook first and in larger numbers. This makes sense because B2B businesses are looking for marketing people, facilities managers, buyers, and others who rely on LinkedIn for industry connections and news. Facebook is comprised of nearly every consumer on the planet.
4: Most Small Business Marketers Don’t Know if Facebook Efforts Are Working
Even though 92% of small businesses agree that social media is important for their business AND that the majority use Facebook for their social media marketing, most also report that they don’t know whether their Facebook outreach is “working.” Thirty-five percent of marketers have no idea whether their Facebook efforts are effective.
Facebook’s domination of social media marketing should concern small businesses even though most marketers are uncertain of its impact. Without the benefit of a marketing team, creating a strategy complete with goals and measurement, small businesses have a harder time evaluating marketing efforts. They may have embraced the notion pushed by marketing agencies and media that Facebook is THE place to be, an inexpensive way to market to a targeted audience. As a relatively new marketing platform with plenty of buzzes, Facebook’s hype could be clouding its true potential for small businesses.
5: Small Businesses Plan to Expand Facebook Activities This Year
The Social Media Marketing Industry Report also found that, again, despite the cloudiness surrounding Facebook’s effectiveness, 62% plan to increase its activities.
Social media beginners shouldn’t be concerned that they’ve missed the chance to get a foothold for their business on Facebook. Although Facebook has existed since 2006, many small businesses are still figuring out how to use all of its features to grow their customer base, engagement, and more.
6: Most Small Businesses Spend 6 Hours or More Weekly on Social Media
Because of the crush of responsibilities they have, small business owners worry about the time it takes to keep an audience engaged on social channels. Tools like Hootsuite and Post Planner cut down on time spent, but social media marketing still requires significant time. These figures give small business owners and marketers a clear idea of the time competitors are investing.
Thirty-three percent of study respondents report that they devote 1 to 5 hours weekly to social media marketing; however, a robust 25% spend 6 to 10 hours each week.
7: Small Businesses Identify Increased Exposure as Social’s Top Benefit
Even though “increased exposure” is more difficult to measure than a metric like traffic or bounce rate, marketers and small business owners rank it the number-one benefit of marketing on social media.
Whether through social channel engagement, referral source data from Google Analytics, or customers sharing in person or by phone how they found the business on social media, business owners and marketers believe social media gets them in front of more and wider audiences.
8: Increased Traffic to Website Is Number-Two Benefit of Social Marketing
More exciting, the longer small businesses use social marketing, the more frequently they report increased traffic. With each year that business uses social media, the likelihood increases that they agree or strongly agree that social drives traffic to the website.
Like any marketing tactic, social media requires time before results emerge. Agreement with the statement that social brought additional traffic to respondents’ websites increased year after year, from 61% of those using it less than 1 year to 82%, calling it effective after 5 years.
9: Social Media Cuts Marketing Expenses for Small Businesses
Early on, social media developed the reputation of reaching audiences at a low price. Before 2014, Facebook was allowing companies to reach their audiences for free. That smart move brought lots of marketers to the channel. The prospect of a free marketing channel with a potential reach of one billion people proved irresistible. The perception that Facebook promoted offers online for little to no money grew.
However, with lots of companies hooked, Facebook started charging for marketing activities in spring 2014. With costs rising, returns cannot be as robust. Yet this year, Social Media Marketing Industry Report found that 51% of businesses with 10 or fewer employees who also spend 6 hours or more on social media marketing still believe that it reduces overall marketing expenses. Enterprise-level companies with 1,000 employees, on the other hand, tend to hire staff to carry out social media.
10: Small Business Direct Social Sales Rise Over Time
The goal of all marketing tactics eventually is increased leads and sales. As mentioned above, social media has more challenges than search engine optimization and pay-per-click ads when demonstrating direct sales.
More than half of marketers who have been using social media for more than 2 years report their channels helped them improve sales. Seventy percent of those with a 5-year social media marketing investment report help improve sales.
11: Facebook Dominates Social Media Paid Ads
The low cost associated with social media ads is just one aspect that appeals to small businesses. The ability to target ads to a narrow geographic (down to the zip code) and the demographic market provides another.
Facebook’s paid ads’ success had propelled its stock price from $20 per share in 2012 to $80 per share in May 2015. LinkedIn and Twitter ads have met with some success, prompting our survey respondents to consider them seriously in the coming year. Other social media platforms like Instagram, Pinterest, and others have ad opportunities in development. The potential of ads on these latter platforms remains untested, which in large part may be keeping advertisers at bay at this point.
The lack of interest in smaller channels could also reflect that marketers haven’t learned enough about these platforms. Aggressive marketers will undoubtedly experiment with the various channels to determine where the value exists for their brands.
12: Types of Social Media Content
Once a small business determines which channel drives the most valuable (and intentional) traffic, the next step is to provide the content to engage that traffic.
Despite the easy digestibility of video and visuals, marketers pinpointed blogging as their most important content type. Consumers now research their purchases thoroughly before buying, and the blog most likely provides more extensive information than the quick image or 1-minute teaser video.
Related video: 5 Social Media Marketing Tips For Small Businesses
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“Perseverance is failing 19 times and succeeding the 20th” -Julie Andrews.
“Through perseverance, many people win success out of what seemed destined to be a certain failure” -Benjamin Disraeli.
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