Small businesses prefer to conduct their marketing efforts on social networking sites over location-based marketing, according to a May 8 article by Fox News. Given the word-of-mouth nature and sharing features of sites such as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Pinterest, 97 percent of business owners said that they use these platforms to promote their businesses.
Only 17 percent of businesses say they utilize location-based ads, such as Foursquare, in promoting their products and services. Additionally, 66 percent of small business owners are optimizing their website for mobile platforms, reflecting an evolving use of the web and social sites. Just 34 percent of business owners say they have no desire to use social media in the future. Many believe that they don’t have a demand from customers to utilize such platforms.
Not surprisingly, most respondents stated that they have not had the time to fully implement their marketing efforts on social media and mobile. Thus, the finding suggests that larger companies with much bigger marketing budgets are able to optimize their positioning in new channels over small businesses with lesser resources, time, and funding.
Interestingly, big players such as Google and Facebook are expanding their efforts towards localized marketing. For instance, Facebook is transforming its Local search page into a directory listing for small businesses not unlike the Yellow Pages.
Marketing on social media can have significantly varied results for small businesses. Last month, Manta published a study which found that 61 percent of small businesses surveyed by the site’s researchers haven’t seen any return on their investment from social media activities.
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The findings seem to suggest that many business owners are wasting their time fiddling with social networks. Half of the respondents said they increased their time working on the social media side of their business despite 61 percent not seeing any ROI from their efforts. Only 7 percent said that they had cut back on their social media efforts.
Many Internet marketers believe that social media and mobile marketing are more suited towards niche products and services that deliver a great or better than average value proposition to consumers. By promoting a mediocre product on new channels, the underlying value proposition remains the same.
In one case study, Misty Lown of “More Than Just Great Dancing” studios has been known for years for carving out a niche in the dance studio industry. Her practice has since increased to a network of nearly a dozen studios, and her popular Facebook page (over 6,000 fans) reflects the loyalty of her client base.
Another Manta survey discovered that more than one in three small-business owners spend up to three hours a week managing their social media channels. Nearly 10 percent spend more than 10 hours. Such efforts might be justified when they are proposing to convey superior products or services to the marketplace. If not, they’re probably better suited on optimizing what they have to offer in the first place.