Most of us as individuals are ensconced in the world of social media when it comes to our personal lives. However, for businesses, social media and how to use it for marketing is still a relatively new concept. Many companies do not use social media to its fullest as a marketing tool. This is evidenced by the relatively small budgets that are allocated by companies to use towards “tech” marketing. Tech marketing can include a company’s website, blog, any social media marketing, and more. It typically also includes a budget for online advertising.
We are all familiar with the still-struggling economy and the effects it has had on many businesses. So where are companies cutting back? The answer for some is their marketing budget. According to David Bayer, CEO of ChamberofCommerce.com, “software companies are increasing their marketing budgets, while hardware and service companies are scaling back.” And of course, amount of money made helps determine the amount of money spent – larger companies with bigger revenue are still able to increase their tech budgets.
Some changes have been made in marketing budgets from 2011 to 2012. A survey of companies shows that more money is being allocated for display ads in 2012. However, budgets for email, search engine optimization (SEO) and social marketing are all on a downward slope. The study was done on approximately 91 companies from many industries.
So what does all this mean for a small business? Well, it could possibly show that small businesses are having to cut back as well. But are tech and social media marketing really the places to spend less? Probably not.
Small businesses in particular tend to use social media heavily for marketing, because it is relatively inexpensive and it is easier to reach a potentially broad audience. It’s important for small businesses to keep up with even the smallest changes in the social media world. This could include changes such as the new “sponsored” posts on Facebook (which of course are really just paid advertisements) or any new, popular social media sites that pop up. Allocating for someone who’s primary job it is to keep an eye on the company’s social media accounts may be a wise move.
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In a previous post we’ve identified 5 Niche Social Networks That You Probably Haven’t Heard Of…. It’s a good idea to explore social networks such as these, particularly if they are related to your business or industry. Smaller social networks are more likely to be cheap or free to use and advertise on. And a key marketing principle is to target people that you are certain will be interested in your product or service. Utilizing these smaller, specific social media sites can be a great way to help stretch your social media and tech budget.
As a small business owner or operator, it’s important to categorize where your customers are coming from. Many small businesses will find that many people find them via social media or other tech avenues such as email or display ads. It’s imperative to take advantage of these options whether you do it yourself or hire an agency. It’s critical to use your tech marketing budget to its fullest!
Megan Totka is the Chief Editor for ChamberofCommerce.com which is the largest business directory on the web. ChamberofCommerce.com connects local businesses to their local Chamber of Commerce. Megan also writes business news.