If used in the right way, social media can be a valuable marketing tool for an SMB. Some of these businesses are starting to pick up on its benefits already. In fact, small businesses are more likely to use inexpensive methods such as social media and word-of-mouth to market their brand due to their limited funds.
On a more general level, most brands now increase their level of engagement with social media sites year-on-year. Such is the growth in this area, two thirds of marketers now describe themselves as 'moderately' to 'fully' engaged with social media.
How does this growth apply to the SMB? Well, 66 percent of small businesses plan to spend as much money, or increase spend on their online marketing campaigns in 2013, compared to 2012¹.
Of all the social networks used by companies, LinkedIn has appeared to enjoy a growth in popularity, particularly amongst B2C (Business to Client) businesses. For this type of enterprise, lead creation is the most important part of their marketing strategies. LinkedIn is considered to be an excellent leads and sales generator for them, increasing by 75 percent on last year alone. In contrast, the use of Facebook for this purpose has declined by nearly 20 percent², quite a considerable amount.
Of all the social networks used by companies, LinkedIn has appeared to enjoy a growth in popularity, particularly amongst B2C (Business to Client) businesses.
Trying to track success
Despite this growth in the usage of social media, measuring it's success rate is currently difficult for the SMB. More and more sophisticated attribution software packages are arriving on the market, but 2 in 10 B2B (Business to Business) companies and 4 in 10 B2Cs say that attribution is completely out of reach for them², seriously hampering their social media campaigns.
However, it appears that those businesses that have been able to invest in attribution tools, have seen results. The number of marketers able to attribute leads and sales to specific social media channels have more than doubled (leads from 15% to 31%, sales from 23% to 60%²).
Mobile is also another area which SMBs must include in their marketing plans with 15 percent³ of them intending to build mobile-optimized websites this year. Currently, 93.3 percent⁴ of SMB websites are not mobile compatible and will not display properly on mobile devices or smart-phones.
Once this is addressed, companies will be able to reach another portion of the social media marketplace, as accessing social networks on the move is very popular. Linking from a Facebook or Linkedin page to a company homepage that does not render properly in a browser, will turn away potential mobile customers. With a mobile-optimized site, smart-phone users will be able to make the jump from social network to company website smoothly, increasing the chance of a sale.
For more advice on how SMBs can use social media more effectively, please contact us here.