It appears that Social Media has finally been given the respect it deserves and is now a requirement, not an accessory, for all Business’ Marketing Campaigns. Many larger Companies and Brands are active on social media, but Small and Medium-sized Businesses have yet to embrace the medium.
A recent study from SMB Group relates that only 24% of US small businesses (SMB), those with between 20 and 99 employees, said they used Social Media to engage with customers and sales leads in a strategic and structured way. An additional 20% said they used Social Media, but in an off-the-cuff, casual way. US medium-sized businesses, with 100 to 999 employees, were slightly more active, as 33% said they used social media in a strategic way and 19% in an ad hoc way.
As far as specific social channels, Facebook is used by 26% of SMBs and 38% of medium-sized businesses respectively. Additionally, 14% of small businesses and 21% of medium-sized ones said they also engage in relevant LinkedIn forums and discussion groups. Small businesses were least likely to use geolocation services (such as Foursquare), with only 3% saying they used them. Twitter was used, not as well at it should be used, with SMBs at 12% and medium-sized businesses at 19%.
Larger Companies are beginning to integrate Social Media with other aspects of their businesses. They are working to incorporate Social beyond Marketing and into Customer Service, Research and Development, and Sales. SMBs would like to be using Social for similar things, but they say that they just haven’t got the time. Which is unfortunate; it is a great resource. Of those respondents that used or planned to use social media, 37.7% already integrated social media into the company website and 22.2% did so within marketing processes. However, more than half (55.1%) of respondents had no plans to integrate social media into the product development process, and 43.9% said they had no plans to do so within a company mobile-friendly website.
All of these avenues should, and must, be explored in regards to Marketing for a SMB and can be achieved with some outside help. Hiring a firm, like Cusp Creative, or a dedicated person to use Social Media in these arena will drastically help all SMBs prosper.