August 5, 2011

Social Media Not Big With Small Business Marketing

According to a survey of US small business leaders by Opinium Research, commissioned by Hiscox, many are not using social media channels to promote their businesses and products.  Only 12% of businesses described social media promotion as a must and nearly 50% of respondents aren’t using social media at all.

Small Business Use of Social Media (% of Respondents)
Media or Comment % of Respondents
Do not use social media for business purposes at all 47%
Among those that do use social media for their business:
   Using Facebook 19%
   Using LinkedIn 15%
   Using Twitter   4%
Businesses using social media ranked the most important channels used to grow and expand business:
   Company Facebook page 28%
   Company page / group on LinkedIn 18%
   Company blog helped them most   8%
When all respondents were asked about how they felt about using social media for their business:
   Social media not important to our business 43%
   Describe it as a must… do it all the time 12%
   Do it when they have the time 24%
   Don’t know enough about it 14%
Source: Opinium Research, commissioned by Hiscox, June 2011

(Hiscox commissioned research with Opinium Research among 304 owners, partners and senior decision makers from US companies with 1 to 249 employees between the 18th of May and the 1st of June 2011.)

Additional findings from the survey of these business owners, published by Marketing Profs

Social media adoption varies by company size. 62% of businesses with 50-249 employees use social media for business, compared with 46% of those with 1-9 employees. 19% of small businesses with 10-49 employees say social media is a must, compared with the just 10% of those with 50-249 employees. Only 1% of surveyed small business owners say they publish a blog for business.

Facebook is also the top channel for business growth. Small business owners who use social media cite the following channels as most effective in helping them grow their business:

  • Facebook page: 28%
  • LinkedIn company page or group: 18%
  • Company blog: 8%
  • YouTube: 6%

Building awareness and new business are the top reasons small business owners use social media, citing the following top objectives with social marketing:

  • Brand awareness: 27%
  • Generate sales: 22%
  • Promote new offers, promotions: 11%
  • Customer service: 10%
  • Research: 10%
  • Improve SEO: 5%

Asked to identify which marketing channel they couldn’t do without:

  • 50% of small business owners cite word-of-mouth recommendations
  • 39% of small business owners say WOM recommendations are their only source of business leads
  • 14% cite their website (18% of companies with 50-249 employees cite websites)
  •   8% cite working with key partners
  •   6% cite advertising
  •   4% cite social media/blogging
  •   4% cite viral marketing
  •   3% cite search marketing

60% or small business owners get advice about business from mentors and colleagues, while 43% cite conferences and events, 28% cite magazines and websites, and 14% rely on online forums.

-by Jack Loechner,

News, Social Media Marketing
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