Social management platform Roost conducted a survey of roughly 200 local businesses using the service. The online instrument asked questions about marketing attitudes and tactics, such as “What is your most effective marketing channel?”
The respondents were predisposed to value social media, since they’re using a social media management tool, but their answers are reflective of the way the market is going:
How important is social marketing?
What’s your most effective marketing channel?
In the chart immediately above, rating the effectiveness of various methods, social marketing (71%) beats paid search marketing (15%) pretty dramatically. Note that organic search/SEO was rated “most effective” by a significant number of respondents (58%).
While I would caution that the sample isn’t representative of the larger market it’s directionally consistent with what we’ve seen in our research and in a great deal of third party data. SMBs are more interested in social than paid-search. They want to rank on Google, etc., but they don’t necessarily want to advertise there.
Social media has its challenges too, for example: the “now what problem.” (After I set up an account, now what?)
Below are some additional data from a Network Solutions small business survey released earlier this year (n=500) about attitudes toward and experiences with social media. There’s a generally positive view but a sizable group who feel that “social media has fallen short of expectations.”
- Helps to stay engaged with customers, build higher awareness of company and attract new customers.
- 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%)