Social Media – A Foreign Language to Some

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#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, and therefore 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 use of Facebook for marketing purposes. Sixty-six percent will increase Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn activity.Twitter is gaining on Facebook, however, and with its new advertising opportunities, will be an interesting property to watch over the next year or so. It’s much the same story for Instagram and Pinterest, both of which doubled their traffic from 2014 to 2015. YouTube is more commonly used by larger businesses. Specifically, 71% of businesses with 100+ employees use YouTube, compared to 38% of the self-employed.

#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 the 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. Seventy-one percent of B2B marketers want to learn more about LinkedIn this year. This said, just 18% of B2B marketers are using LinkedIn ads. These same marketers are using Facebook ads at a rate of 75%.

#4: Most Small Business Marketers Don’t Know if Facebook Efforts Are Working

Despite the fact that 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.” “Working” may mean building brand awareness and relationships with customers. It could also mean bringing in more leads and sales. The bottom line is that the majority of small businesses either don’t know if Facebook achieves the goals they’ve set or it does NOT achieve those goals. It could also mean they have no goals or they haven’t bothered to measure their progress toward goals. Shockingly, despite the high numbers using Facebook, just one in three self-employed respondents characterize Facebook efforts as “effective.” Facebook’s domination of social media marketing despite the fact that most marketers are uncertain of its impact should concern small businesses. 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 simply 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 buzz, Facebook’s hype could be clouding its true potential for small business. On the other hand, 44% of survey respondents have been using social media for two years or less. That short time frame makes the lack of clarity understandable. Most marketing efforts take a year or more to begin returning results. Small businesses may not be giving their social media efforts a chance.

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