We posed questions to Socialmediaonlineclasses.com members (almost 300 of them!) to take the pulse of social media for small business in 2014. Some results were expected, while others were shocking. All are shown in the infographic below. (Following the infographic is a brief explanation of the finding for each question)
Majority of Small Business Owners Do Have a Website
Most small business owner do have their own website, which is big jump from 2011, when less than 50% did (according to the SBA). That means more entrepreneurs sare making the transition from traditional marketing to digital. It’s also a positive step in owning your space online: social networks may change, but you own your website and your domain, and can control its look, feel, and what you share on it.
More Business-to-Consumer Brands Use Social Media
It’s no surprise that more business-to-consumer brands (B2C) use social media, as far more social networks exist for those channels. Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram are definitely stronger in the B2C market, while LinkedIn, Twitter, and Slideshare are focused more on the B2B space. Google, Google+, and YouTube cross both spectrums.
Are Your Clients Mostly Women?
The response to this question was surprising: women are more active on social networks, and Pinterest is primarily a social network for women. But a clear 63% of Socialmediaonlineclasses.com members said that women were not the majority of their clients. Greater than half of small brands reach out to both men and women in their marketing.
Everyone Watches YouTube
YouTube remains the biggest missed opportunity for small business, as over 98% of Socialmediaonlineclasses.com members have watched a video there, but fewer than 10% actually use video marketing. Brands can learn to record and produce video quickly with smartphones, webcams, and even use YouTube’s built-in editing features to get started marketing their business with video.
Search Engine Rank is Essential
Ranking highly in search engine results is critical to small brands for growing their business, as a clear 87% responded it was important. However, SEO services remain out of reach to small business budgets, with the average SEO project costing $4,000 (according to moz.com). Entrepreneurs can improve their own SEO rankings by focusing on their domain names, content marketing, and earning high quality links to their websites.
Few Brands Give Presentations, Workshops, or Lectures
Only 36% of small business owners give presentations, workshops or lectures. Educational marketing offer a tremendous opportunity for brands to reach a wider audience, provide “infotainment,” and build their client list.
Both B2B and B2C brands can benefit: Fun Finds and Designs, a retail consignment store in Canton, GA, gives monthly how-to workshops in their store. Here at Socialmediaonlineclasses.com we repurpose many of our infographics and webinars into excerpts on Slideshare.com – both are great marketing tools.
Small Business Needs Influencer Outreach
A little more than half — 57% — of small brands said they need to get the attention of influencers in their industry. Twitter is an excellent, low-maintenance way to do influencer outreach, yet many entrepreneurs still see Twitter as a celebrity social network.
While the definition of an influencer will vary from one industry to another, you’re quite likely to find those key players on Twitter engaging in multiple conversations daily. Brands should be on Twitter, focusing on their industry influencers, and engaging in those conversations.
Tip: a great way to group conversations by industry in both Twitter and Hootsuite is to use a list. You can have separate lists for the media, vendors, potential joint venture (JV) partners, and more.
Biggest Challenge Facing Small Brands: How to Start with Social Media?
The top challenge facing small brands is this: they’re overwhelmed, with 48% responding they don’t where to start. Almost every brand assumes they need Facebook: in reality, only those B2C businesses or those using Facebook regularly will benefit.
Few brands have a clear strategy, and usually don’t know the questions to ask to develop one. (Register for the free Social Media Strategy class on the Socialmediaonlineclasses.com Home page to build your own strategy.)
A close second is being faced with far too many social networks, and not knowing which one holds the best potential for their business. Too many brands feel the need to be everywhere, and end up burned out and frustrated over a watered-down presence not generating results.
The third challenge facing small brands is not seeing a return on their investment (ROI). Not surprisingly, if brands are unsure where to start or which online platform will perform best for them, their ROI will suffer. It’s critical to develop a strategy, identify your highest potential social network and measure results over time.
Action Steps: How to Capitalize on These Results
What can you take away from these results to improve your own marketing?
- If you don’t already have a website, you need to get one
- No matter who your audience is, there’s a social network for you
- Every business should start video marketing in 2014. You’ll see improved search engine rank and increased traffic to your website.
- Educational marketing offers major opportunities to build your brand
- Search Engine Optimization is important, and small brands can do basic SEO themselves
- Influencer outreach can be simple & low-maintenance on Twitter
- Develop and clarify your marketing strategy and your highest potential social network