Assessing Your SMB Social Media Landscape

On April 23, 2011, wrote:

Social media has garnered a great deal of attention for big business. Corporate budgets are able to integrate complete marketing campaigns and promote them on social media.

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If you are a small business looking to be the next social media influencer, you are probably finding out how tough it is to engage with users on social media. However, there is some good news for you and for other small- and medium-sized business owners. The 2011 Social Media Marketing Industry Report saw that SMBs who used social for local marketing saw boosts in exposure, traffic, and sales.

Whether you are a late adopter or consider yourself a social media pioneer, chances are, if your business is doing some sort of social media marketing, you at least understand its significance. Over 90 percent of small business owners and Internet marketers believe that social media is important to their business. Depending on the industry you operate in and how “brand-heavy” you are influences your social media reach. However, in general, small businesses are seeing their efforts targeted to:

88%: Give Business More Exposure

72%: Increase Traffic

62%: Improve Search Rankings

59%: Generate New Partnerships

48%: Improve Sales

58%: Reduce Marketing Costs

The small business social media market is growing rapidly, according to a Borrell Associates Study, with two-thirds – or 66 percent – of small business owners surveyed saying that they are using social media marketing to communicate with customers and the remaining one-third planning to invest more in social this year. Small business owners are deciding that engagement is a better way to track and report on social media spending than clicks or impressions. As the marketing medium matures, we will see more and more marketers small and large either engage directly on social media or incorporate social elements in their marketing efforts.

Social is helping business “connect the dots.” For small businesses with incomplete marketing plans or failures in understanding their target markets, social media helps connect these dots. Business owners are able to see who is engaging with their product or service, what does/doesn’t work and what can be improved. This is ultimately making their businesses more strategic.

All this great news about social media doesn’t come for free. It takes time and resources to see a real benefit from social efforts. It’s not an immediate impact medium like search advertising, it’s a long-term relationship that needs to be “nourished”. Trust is key, internally, and small businesses should invest at least 5-6 hours per week engaging on social media. If you are a business owner looking to justify the costs of social media advertising, you should think more in terms of what it would cost your business if you aren’t investing in social. Indeed in today’s competitive environment, social businesses are creating competitive advantages and are more responsive to their customers needs.

The small business social media landscape is maturing. As we delve deeper into the ROI and benefits of social media we are finding more and more positive news for social media marketing. Hopefully, you aren’t included in the one-third of businesses not using social media, but if you are, the time has never been better to jump in!

About the author: Matt Krautstrunk is an expert writer on everything from social media marketing to GPS fleet tracking systems based in San Diego, California. He writes for Resource Nation, an online resource that provides fleet tracking advice on purchasing and outsourcing decisions for small business owners and entrepreneurs.

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