Social Media Use by SMBs Exploding

Confirming our earlier survey, as well as a considerable amount of other data in the market, a new Constant Contact-sponsored survey (n=1,572) reveals more than 70% of the SMB-respondents are using social media to promote their businesses.

Seventy three percent of survey respondents say they’re using some form of social media marketing today. Our February survey found that 70% reported having a presence on Facebook. Other SMB surveys have found smaller penetration numbers, in the 40% to 50% range. However, directionally, all the surveys reflect a significant increase in the use of Facebook and other social media tools for marketing among SMBs.

Among those saying they use social media, 80% report that usage has increased during the past year.

According to the Constant Contact findings, “81% of those currently using social media marketing expect to increase their efforts in the coming year, and 62% of those not currently using social media marketing expect to begin using it.” Among current SMB social media marketers here’s what Constant Contact found in terms of effectiveness perceptions:

According to the above chart, almost 100% of those using social media are on Facebook. Among that group 82% find it effective. However this number strikes me as “aspirational” and not entirely a reflection of the “facts on the ground.”

Most SMBs confront the “now what problem” after they set up Facebook or Twitter accounts and only a minority can fully exploit social media. Other third party data reflect SMB ambivalence and mixed experiences with social media effectiveness.

For example an earlier 2011 SMB survey released by Network Solutions found the following about their experiences with social media marketing:

  • 63% of SMBs feel it has helped make customers more loyal
  • 56% feel it has taken up more time than they expected
  • 25% of SMBs estimate their investment in social media has made a profit while 15% estimate they have lost money; the remainder (46%) feel they broke even.
  • Often social media has fallen short of expectations (36%) vs. exceeded expectations (9%)

Another noteworthy data point from the table above: 23% of respondents have used daily deals and just over half found it effective. These numbers are very consistent with what the Opus Research/MerchantCircle data show:

Source: Opus Research-MerchantCircle (2/11), n=6,875

Finally here’s the hierarchy of effectiveness of the various marketing methods according to the Constant Contact data:

Email is rated most effective, followed by website, “telephone” and public relations. Just under 20% of respondents said that social media was “very or moderately ineffective.” And another roughly 25% said it was “neither effective or ineffective.”

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One Response to “Social Media Use by SMBs Exploding”

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  3. James says at

    I think the last graphic is indicative of return purchases of already established customers. Email, for instance, blows away all other advertising when the recipient has already made a purchase from the advertiser.

    It would have been nice to see stats for contextual advertising re-targeting/marketing.

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