September 22, 2011

Facebook Dominant Social Network for SMBs

Wall posts, direct messages most effective tactics

When it comes to online marketing, small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) have their work cut out for them. Time- and money-strapped, SMB marketers often receive light budgets and minimal staff to help them promote their business and generate leads across a variety of formats ranging from social media to search marketing.

Oftentimes, SMBs have to hedge their bets by selecting a few key online marketing tactics that allow them to maintain a company presence in a way that delivers the most bang for their buck. According to Zoomerang, this often equates to an investment in their company website and email marketing.

Social media, however, is gaining in momentum: 44% of US SMB decision-makers have used or are using social media this year, up 10 percentage points from Zoomerang and GrowBiz Media’s October 2010 findings, illustrating that for many SMBs, social media is quickly becoming a surefire way to connect with customers and prospects in a cost-efficient manner.

Among the 44% of SMBs using social media, more than half (59%) spend less than $100 on social media marketing, indicating that while companies are taking to the social space, few have yet to allocate significant budget to fund this effort.

SMBs are sticking predominantly to the three main social networking sites: Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. However, SMBs were twice as likely to turn to Facebook (86%) as they were Twitter (33%) or LinkedIn (41%), a wise decision given Facebook’s vast reach and popularity among consumers.

Though Facebook is becoming increasingly sophisticated in its product offerings and capabilities, businesses are sticking with the basics to drive performance: 51% of US SMBs found wall posts the most effective marketing tactic, even though only 16% of US consumers said they had interacted with a brand on Facebook.

In contrast, 68% of consumers said they had “liked” a brand on Facebook, but only 6% of SMBs say “like”-focused marketing tactics are effective.

These conflicting findings on reported consumer behavior and tactic efficacy likely point to the fact that direct consumer engagement with a business—though much less common than “liking” a brand—can be a strong indicator of purchase intent or customer satisfaction.

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