Small Businesses Benefit Most From Social Media, Study Reveals

social media researchDo you wonder if you have what it takes to compete in the social media marketplace? Who, after all, has the time or the budget to mimic Disney or Starbucks? Certainly not a small business!

Well, maybe that’s the wrong set of questions.

In fact, the 2011 Social Media Marketing Industry Report has some good news for small business marketers. Small business owners are seeing the greatest results from social media marketing.

Michael Stelzner authored the third-annual industry study in which he surveyed 3342 marketers, 47% of whom were either self-employed or small business owners. This group reports some amazing results from social media marketing. Let me show you what they found…

is social media important to your business

"Is social media important to your business?"

Social Media Is Becoming More Important

Over the course of the last 3 years, Stelzner has seen social media move from an uncertain strategy (2009 report) to a permanent fixture (2010 report) to a primary tool (2011 report) in the savvy marketer’s toolkit.

No-one has benefited more than small businesses.

Ninety percent of those surveyed agreed that social media is important to their business. The report reveals that the self-employed (67%) and small business owners (66%) were more likely to strongly agree with this statement.

Top Benefits for Small Business Owners

Almost all marketers find that social media helps them stand out in an increasingly noisy marketplace. In fact, 88% of all marketers found social media helps get them increased exposure. Additionally, 72% of those surveyed saw increased traffic and subscriptions as a result of social media.

benefits

This chart highlights the top benefits identified by all marketers.

Small business owners were more likely than all other groups (89.2% reporting benefits) to see increased exposure.

Here are some other areas where small business owners saw greater benefits than their peers:

  • The self-employed and small business owners were more likely to report new partnerships, with at least 59% noting a benefit.
  • Small businesses were twice as likely to find qualified leads than other types of businesses.
  • Forty-eight percent of self-employed and small business owners saw improved sales as a direct result of their social media efforts.
  • The self-employed (59%) and small business owners (58%) were more likely than others to see reductions in marketing costs when using social media marketing.

Time Investment Pays Dividends

Small business owners have many demands on their time. For most of them, marketing is just one of a dozen hats they wear.

Like last year’s report, the 2011 study proved that time is a key success factor for social media marketers. Spend more time (wisely, of course) and you’re likely to see greater results. The question is how much time is required?

This can be answered in two ways:

  • The power of endurance—those with 3 or more years of experience in social media marketing are seeing the greatest results. For example, only 25% of those just getting started in social media saw new partnerships form, as compared to 80% or more of those with 3 or more years of experience. So marketers shouldn’t make snap judgments on the value of social media after only a few months. Give it some time!

  • It doesn’t have to be all-consuming. It may not take as much time as you fear. In fact, 75% of those spending as little as 6 hours per week on social media marketing saw increased traffic.

Likewise, those who spend at least 6 hours per week are almost twice as likely to see leads generated as those who spend 5 or fewer hours.

While the study didn’t draw any firm conclusions on how much time marketers should spend, there’s clear evidence that those who commit at least 6 hours per week will see significant rewards for their investment.

What’s in Your Toolkit?

It’s easy for marketers to become enamored by the newest tools, but the industry study showed that almost all marketers have four tools in their toolkit: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and blogs. Two surprises in this year’s study: Facebook surpassed Twitter since the 2010 survey, and MySpace is not being used by at least 81% of marketers.

Some tools that benefit small businesses:


LinkedIn

The self-employed (80%) and small business owners (78%) were more likely to use LinkedIn than their counterparts (71%).

The self-employed are the most likely to increase their use of LinkedIn in 2011 (68%) versus 61% for all marketers.


Video Marketing

Seventy-seven percent of all marketers plan to increase their use of video in 2011.

While this is the first choice for all marketers, small businesses lag behind their larger counterparts (82% of large businesses see this as a key growth area).

With all the reports on SEO and engagement benefits from video, I find myself wondering why small businesses aren’t leading the pack here. David Garland and Grant Cowell have shown us that it doesn’t have to be expensive.

Outsourcing for Growth

Only 28% of all marketers outsource any part of their social media marketing. Even though this is a 100% increase over 2010, marketers are still not sure how and when to outsource their social media. This could have to do with the relative inexperience of the audience (50% of the marketers have less than 1 year of experience).

Small business owners are the most likely to use outsourcing (34%), whereas only 24% of the self-employed have utilized outsourcing. Experienced marketers are also more likely to use outsourcing than the less experienced.

Here are the tasks that marketers are outsourcing (percentage shown is out of all surveyed marketers):

Integrating Social Media With Traditional Marketing Strategies

In a survey that highlights the increasing reach of social media marketing, it’s surprising to see trends that emphasize a growing use of more traditional (online and offline) marketing approaches. For example, at least 64% of all marketers plan to increase their use of search engine optimization and email marketing in 2011.

Here’s how small businesses are using some more traditional marketing tools:

Email Marketing

Nearly two-thirds of all businesses plan to increase their use of email marketing, but small businesses are the most likely of all.

Event Marketing

Sixty percent of all marketers plan to increase their use of event marketing (networking and speaking at conferences and trade shows). Of these, the self-employed (70%) and small business owners (65%) are significantly more likely to participate than marketers from large corporations (43% to 38%, depending on the size of the company).

Press Releases

Eighty percent of all businesses plan to either maintain or increase their use of press releases in 2011. Small business owners are more than twice as likely (52%) to increase their use than businesses with 500 to 1000 employees (24%).

Webinars and Teleseminars

A surprising 42% of all businesses have no plans to utilize webinars or teleseminars in 2011. But small businesses are far more likely to make use of this strategy. In fact, 49% of the self-employed plan on increasing their use compared to 27% of businesses with 500 to 1000 employees.

What Difference Does it Make?

Clearly small business owners are finding great value in social media marketing. In many cases, they’re benefiting more than their large company peers.

The 2011 Social Media Marketing Industry Report has insights that help marketers from businesses of all sizes and levels of experience. Download your copy here.

If you’re a small business owner, do your results agree with this report? Where do you plan to invest your marketing energies this year? What’s the biggest difference social media has made in your business? Leave your comments in the box below.

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About the Author, Phil Mershon

Phil Mershon is the director of events for Social Media Examiner. He has worked nearly 25 years in corporate training and management. Phil is also a professional jazz and church musician. Other posts by »




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  • Laura McGregor
  • http://profiles.google.com/levani9191 Levani Melikishvili

    Links are broken! Please fix it…

  • Mikel
  • http://www.colemanmg.com Antonio Coleman

    Phil this social world is helping small businesses stand in front of their clients now like never before..more people should jump on this band wagon..

    “Black Seo Guy “Signing Off”

  • http://dinodogan.com/ Dino Dogan

    Those are some pretty charts man. I was dazzled :-)

  • Matt

    I think LinkedIn has been an interesting one to follow. You don’t get the traffic back to your site that you may get from Facebook, but the leads that it generates tend to be from more serious clients.

  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/ Michael A. Stelzner
  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/ Michael A. Stelzner
  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/ Michael A. Stelzner

    Thanks

  • http://www.kaarinadillabough.com Kaarina Dillabough

    Great article Phil! I’d already downloaded the full report: good stuff.

    When I’m asked about the amount of time it will take to “do” social media, I usually say LOTS…yes, a very quantifiable answer:), so I was surprised at the 6 hours per week. Seems low in my estimation and experience. But that’s good if that’s the case.

    I’m constantly amazed by the people who say they “don’t have time”. It’s important to bite off what one can chew, and not try to do all platforms, all at the same time: too overwhelming. But the “I don’t have time” excuse is just that: an excuse.

    Since we think in pictures, not words, I found it not surprising to see 77% planning to increase their use of video, but I am surprised that small business isn’t leading the pack here. Missed opportunity.

    Great article: great visuals! Kaarina

  • http://powersbusiness.com Shane Powers

    Great info…My one criticism is there just aren’t enough attractive graphs:-)

  • http://frankjkenny.com/ Frank J. Kenny

    Great post Phil. Lots of good info here.

    Small businesses have been out-gunned by the advertising/marketing budgets of large corporations for generations.

    Now, because relationships trump advertising, and social media is all about relationships, it is the small business’ turn to shine.

    The main issue for small business is that they are busy running their firms and can’t keep up with the social media and technology rate of change. They are scared to spend money to outsource so they do the best they can. The relationship factor is so powerful though that what the small businesses are doing still works.

    The small business marketing consultant that can retain the relationship factor for their clients while relieving them of the tech burden, has a very bright future.

  • PhilMershon

    I agree, Antonio. It’s easy to allow the big boys to intimidate you, but people are making the tools easier to use. I also think a lot of people are willing to trust the small and local guys. I see a lot of people in Wichita, where I’m living, choosing to buy from local brands as opposed to national out of this loyalty motive. Not sure that loyalty fits in the social world except as people come to trust you.

    I probably have a couple more barriers to overcome as a small business owner on the web. Who is this guy? Why should I believe him? Will he really handle my business well? Big brands don’t have those issues. But a small brand can be much more personal because his/her brand is their personality.

  • PhilMershon

    Yeah. Thanks to Mike Stelzner for making those!

  • PhilMershon

    Good point, Matt. I know Jay Baer has really emphasized LinkedIn for his business and has reaped great rewards. Also, Mario Sunday, one of our Social Media Success Summit speakers, will be an expert on our Facebook Friday in May (date to be finalized). He’ll be a great one to help us all unpack these learnings.

  • PhilMershon

    Thanks, Kaarina.

    I should point out that 6 hours was the minimum investment where greater rewards were noted. The benefits increased dramatically even at the 11 hour mark.

    Probably goes without saying, but not all hours are equal. The 3 year veteran is probably investing their 6 hours much more wisely than the novice. It’s also easy to get lost on rabbit trails in social media – clicking a link to only get back to your task after 30 minutes of meandering through the hitherlands. That’s why listening to people like Mari Smith and Hollis Thomases (author of Twitter Marketing: An Hour a Day) are helpful.

  • PhilMershon

    Ha! You should download the industry report and see how many graphs Mike included! :)

  • PhilMershon

    Great points, Frank. I totally agree that small businesses have an advantage over large firms, but they must be willing to invest some time and/or resource into making this happen. Many small business owners are more cautious about spending on things like new media, but if there are consultants who can “show them the money” on some small projects, I think we might see the outsourcing stats change dramatically in coming years.

  • http://wildhairmedia.com Mikey Ames

    Thanks for a great article. Social Media presents great opportunities to small businesses in so many ways.

  • http://www.kaarinadillabough.com Kaarina Dillabough

    Oh my goodness, I can relate to the rabbit trails. I liken it to peeling the layers of an onion. Peel a layer, and there’s another…and another…and another. Sometimes you wanna’ cry, but you just keep going:)

    Thanks for the clarification on the minimum 6 hours. And so totally agree: the more experience you have, the more wisely you can use those hours.

    I’ll keep listening:) Kaarina

  • http://www.extremejohn.com/ Extreme John

    Excellent article Phil. As informative as so much of the information about social media and how it benefits small businesses isn’t all that surprising to me. Being a small business owner myself I’ve seen small business owners within my community explode and become very creative in a very short period of time with social media. Results cause that.

    I was also happy to see that my intentions and goals for 2011 were in place with most others, I’m looking to increase the amount of time I spend on LinkedIn and we have already started a huge jump on doing more videos then we have in previous years.

  • http://powersbusiness.com Shane Powers

    Thanks Phil! Just downloaded it. What a ridiculous amount of information! Love it!

  • PhilMershon

    Agreed!

  • PhilMershon

    Thanks, John. That’s good to have confirmation that you’re on the right track. I wish you well and hope many other small business owners find the same success.

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  • http://www.extremejohn.com/ Extreme John

    Thank you Phil I appreciate it and with excellent information like the information you provided in this post I’m sure other small business owners will find great success.

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  • Faye

    Thanks for the reference point of 6 hours..and rabbit trails..can sooo relate…right now I’m on the beginner trail, and will be soo thrilled to graduate to “the intermediate”

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  • http://www.MacStartup.com Kevin Cullis

    Phil, great info to digest for any startup or small business.

  • PhilMershon

    Thanks, Kevin!

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  • PhilMershon

    Keep at it, Faye…and find some more advanced “skiers” to follow. I used to play tennis. The best way for me to improve my game was to play more skilled players. Do the same with social media.

  • http://twitter.com/lindajellison Linda Jellison

    I agree – though I’m curious to know which graphic program was used to produce them. I use a program called “Amigo” which is similar, but the company does not plan to upgrade the software, so I have an older version.

  • Dr. Angela Hausman

    Great information. Its so easy to get caught up in the hype, its nice to have some hard and fast numbers to support strategy development. It makes sense for small businesses to use Social Media for a number of reasons; the tangible cost is low, its flexible (I recently posted something about e-blogs as an alternative to a static website at:http://www.letsblogformoney.org/blogging-tips-create-eblog-ecommerce-site), and it capitalizes on the personal connection many small businesses already have with their customers — it’s one of the major strengths of small businesses.

    In additional to using social media as a tool for advertising and PR, small businesses may find social media an effective and low-cost way to monitor how they’re doing with customers and discover unmet needs they might be able to fill. This can be better than market research for small firms.

  • http://www.brosix.com/ Brosix

    I’m thinking they benefit most because their demographic is usually local or much smaller.

  • Megan Getter

    Great post! I think small business have a big advantage because customers can have a relationship with the owners themselves. You can talk to a real person on Twitter/Facebook/LinkedIn, then do business with that same person in real life. People love talking to people. For small businesses, quality is much more important than quantity of interactions.

  • PhilMershon

    Good points, Angela.

  • PhilMershon

    Yes, but maybe it’s also because they have to succeed to survive!

  • PhilMershon

    I agree. The relationship is a key advantage for small businesses.

  • http://www.engagingdentists.com EngagingDentists.com

    Are small businesses using social media more because they see it as effective or because they perceive it as free?

    My thoughts are that social media marketing can be effective, but my guess is that small businesses haven’t figured out how to calculate their return on investment yet. Furthermore, owners neglect to calculate how much money they lose by spending their time using social media.

    I will also guess that we’ll eventually see a major shift in the number of businesses outsourcing their efforts because they realize that they’re actually losing money on social platforms (too much time spent). If you make $40 an hour and spend 5 hours a week using social media, why not work 5 extra hours and pay a business $100 a week to monitor your networks?

    What will outsourcing do to all of our efforts? Well, it will decrease social media’s effectiveness for small businesses. If consumers begin to question the identity of the commenter or the motivations behind the engagement, true participation may be mistaken for trickery or spam and even some of the most genuine relationships will be thrown into question.

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  • http://www.Frequence-Cosmique.com/ Gilles Vitu

    Thanks Phil for bringing all that graphics together to this article… It gives a clear global image of what is hapening in 2011 for small Business and Social Media !

  • http://www.online-business-virtual-assistant.com/ Shilpi Roy – Virtual Assistant

    I feel that Social Media is the cheapest and the most effective option of connecting with potential customers. It is certainly here to stay. We have got many new small business clients and also professionals(doctors), who are using Social media to connect with their clients…and to collaborate…It is important that the business decides before hand what they want to acheive – Branding, Word Of Mouth, or Just Sales…and then take the approach that best matches these goals…

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  • http://www.webhost.uk.net Webhost UK

    Social media has been a big plus to everyones business in todays world we can update our customer inform them instantly about any maintainance we are doing ..I mean things are instant in today world.. thanks to twitter and facebook.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=533685813 Simon Griffiths

    Like all marketers we should consider this survey but also look at it’s source. A survey of companies subscribing to social media examiner have an inbuilt bias that can’t be ignored.
    As an example of this you could read from this that 1 person companies should be spending at least 6 hours a day on social media. There’s only 1 type of company that can do this and that is a social media company. I can’t imagine any other 1 person company having the time for 6 hours and being able to run their business!

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  • Leland

    This article could be improved by increasing the resolution (or providing a magnification tool) of the charts. I found myself squinting too much. :(

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  • http://www.best-web-hosting-companies.com/ Kavya Hari

    Hello Phil, social media is one of the correct ways to increase page rank with the good support. Thanks a lot for given your content on here :)

  • mariasipka

    Thanks Phil for a value packed article! I couldn’t agree more that small businesses can benefit significantly from social media. Amidst the many reasons why, do you think that small businesses and their teams achieve greater results in engaging their target audiences than larger brands? They know their products, services and segments intimately and ‘passionately’ and they are accustomed to speaking with their customers and building relationships on a very human level – social media amplifies this.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=679642161 Todd J Scott

    Great post! Love it. Small business owners are often tempted to simply go for the lowest cost method, when really a combination of different strategies is what is going to bring them exposure, traffic, relationships and eventually sales. We’ve found that social media marketing – when understood and done properly – is extremely effective for small businesses. ~ Todd, SplashLab Social

  • PhilMershon

    You make some great points. As mentioned earlier, 5 hours on social media can be wasted or very fruitful. The fruit comes from experience and wisdom. Some small business owners can probably value their time at greater than $40/hour and should evaluate this use. People like Ramon DeLeon of Dominos Pizza in Chicago has integrated social into how he runs his business–and he’s been very successful. A dentist may have a harder time calculating that benefit – except that kids will find it very hip to see their dentist on Facebook and parents will appreciate the chance to interact and get helpful tips and coupons.

  • PhilMershon

    Thanks. Glad it helped!

  • PhilMershon

    Excellent points. I agree completely about knowing your goals before you start.

  • PhilMershon

    Good point.

  • PhilMershon

    Thanks for your comment, Simon.

    As with all surveys there is inevitably some bias. This survey set out to understand what people using social media for marketing purposes are doing. However, this survey was not exclusive to the socialmediaexaminer.com audience. It invited people from all over the web to participate.

    I think you may have misread the study. It said 6 hours/week (which approximates 1 hour/day), not 6 hours/day. Of course, the people who spend 20+ hours per week are making at least part of their living through social media. That would be particularly true for those spending 6 hours/day! :)

    There were many people who took this survey who are marketers working for various size companies (53% of those surveyed work for companies in marketing capacity).

    While I agree there is some degree of bias in the data, the trends and conclusions are still valid and helpful for all marketers to consider. Just figure out what relates to your situation and go with it.

    Thanks again!

  • PhilMershon

    sorry, Leland. You might try downloading the report. You should have the resolution you need when you zoom in.

  • PhilMershon

    You’re welcome!

  • PhilMershon

    Thanks for your question, Maria. I think it would depend on how committed they are to finding and continually engaging their customers through social tools. I think small businesses have great potential because of the points you make, but because of the time investment they may not take full advantage.

  • PhilMershon

    Thanks for your affirmation, Todd.

  • David Kyle

    This is nonsense. I love how the “study” is from the 2011 Social Media Marketing Report. Nothing tops Search in respects to ROI for small business…. NOTHING!

  • http://twitter.com/Bulwark_Ext BulwarkExterminating

    You can’t always out SEO a competitor but you can always out socialize them.

    http://www.bulwarkpestcontrol.com

  • http://www.slice-works.com/ krabil57

    Phil, thanks for taking the time to summarize the Social Media Marketing Industry Report. I can say, without a doubt, that getting involved in social media has had a positive impact on our business. When I took my first Interactive Marketing Course in 2009, the professor said that Social Media had leveled the playing field for most businesses, making it easier for the small guys to compete with the big boys. I really took that to heart and dove in. A year-and-a-half later I can say that our online presence is significantly better, our website SEO and traffic has improved; we have several new strategic partners; our number of in-bound inquiries has increased significantly; naturally, those are more qualified leads; we haven’t seen that impact directly on sales–YET but it has lead to a streamlining of our sales process.

    I also want to confirm the growth of our use of email marketing. As far as I’m concerned email marketing is at the heart and foundation of all our social media efforts. Marketing can’t turn into sales without it. Email marketing allows you to stay top-fo-mind to your audience, so when they’re ready to move ahead they know who to contact and how to reach you.

  • http://www.slice-works.com/ krabil57

    Frank, I especially like your very last point. For small businesses, the relationship factor is their nugget of gold in the world of big business. When a small business does social media, well it facilitates growing that valuable asset to an even greater advantage.

  • http://www.slice-works.com/ krabil57

    I have a great story about that…When we first renamed our business as Slice in 2006, we thought we were being pretty savvy. But as Google search took hold, we realized that most people who were searching using the word “slice” were looking for a pizza joint. (We’re a marketing, branding and communications firm.) We got BURIED in the rankings.

    Now that we have an online presence as a website, blog site, facebook, twitter account, and LinkedIn presence, we’re coming up in the first page or two of search under “slice”. I just discovered this in March and it blew me away!

  • http://BlogABusinessCard.blogspot.com/ Zorka Kovacevich

    This is a very helpful and practical article and I will share it with many small biz owners and startups! I think that the most important thing is to watch that you don’t spread yourself too thinly when using social media. It may not cost money to use SM but your time is valuable too.

    Pick one platform and stick to it until you are an expert at using it.

    Don’t get sidetracked by thinking you should be on every site out there. If you do you won’t endure: social media exhaustion is possible and very real (just look at all the millions of abandoned websites/blogs out there)!

    I recommend Linkedin for most SM startup users. But, anyplace is a good start. Put in the time to learn to be a “social” networker and not just an advertiser . Be helpful to others and success is guaranteed to happen!

    Readers may wish to checkout this free internet/social media marketing course (a total of 16 classes) taught by top industry professionals.

    To access the classes go to the “Blog A Business Card” at: http://blogabusinesscard.blogspot.com/p/free-classes.html.

    There’s no registration required which makes it easy to access immediately and you won’t end up with a bunch of unwanted spam emails. (Other freebies on the site include a PowerPoint Slide Deck which accompany the course and more)

  • http://sylvanmedia.com/blog Michael

    Great insights and infographics. I think I am most interested in the “evolution” of social media in the development of marketing plans for small businesses. The information presented is great but I think there were maybe too many (for this article). You really drove the point home, but these same conclusions can be found in the report. What do you think?

    Thanks

    Michael

  • http://www.brandignity.com/ Brandignity

    I can see that being true that small businesses might have a slightly more potent outcome when it comes to social media because they generally have a smaller pool to go up against.

  • Leland

    Well I understand that, I just made the comment because perhaps 80% of your readership is not going to spend the time to open up the report.

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  • http://www.biznextdoor.com/ johnmartin

    I love this post, The points are to be reg all the day in mind,Good work.

  • Tom Brown

    This is a great and timely article. Thanks. I am doing a presentation tomorrow morning for the Corning Area Chamber of Commerce on Social Media for small businesses (60+RSVP’d!) and I will most definitely include this article as a resource. Plus you are now on my follow list Phil, Thanks.

  • http://www.thenerdynurse.com/ The Nerdy Nurse

    USEFUL tools for social media consultants.
    Thanks so much!

  • http://www.slaythedragon.ca Dgodlington

    Very good and relevent. I am a new entrepreneur and new to the use of social media. So, far it appears to comprised of many sellers and not so many buyers. However, I was surprised to see a sudden spike in visits to my website after I commented on a couple of blogs. I’ll take your advice that it is all about persistence over the long haul. Thanks.

    Darrel Godlington
    http://www.slaythedragon.ca

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  • http://mimosaplanet.com James M Cooper

    Hi Phil,
    Some interesting stats, thanks for this article!

    One point I’d like to add; we have found our online conversion rate from visitor to lead is much higher for visits that come from social media. So, what we are finding is that we can quickly turn social engagement into Leads, hence it’s a valuable use of our time.

    I believe for some people in small business, mainly those that are finding that their social media activities are not yielding results, it may have more to do with a lack of a quality High Value No Risk Lead Generation Offer. If their website has a strong ‘call to action’ promoting a highly relevant no risk quality offer that is going to help their potential customers / partners, then when a connection made on social media visits their website a much higher percentage exists to generate a lead. Thus the small business can turn hours invested in social media activity into leads/enquiries and business.

    Cheers!
    James

  • Richard

    Great post. I thought I had dropped off the email list as I haven’t received my much anticipated newsletter for a few weeks.

    I am the owner of a small business I have been engaging in a blog, twitter and facebook for about a year.

    I do not outsource because it is not clear who would know my business like I do and the ones I did look at would have redirected all my SEO efforts to themselves.

    I have just started with video, on the web pages. I am the star of the show but I am an actor who would not be very employable by anyone else in fact I suck at it.

    It may be that other small business owners, though believers in the cause, feel that they lack both the skill and finances to do video well.

    Richard

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2G3AS4M7WYPPGAE2M35NFIXCCM mishka

    It does make sense that smaller businesses have the greatest benefits from social media. Being a smaller business allows you to be more personable and able to connect with your customers and the community. Small businesses usually do this anyway and social media is just making it a greater possibility and easier for them. Also, users of social media are usually suspicious of large companies and brands using social media. A larger company is seen as using social media to market and advertise.

  • http://BlogABusinessCard.blogspot.com/ Zorka Kovacevich

    Only because small biz owners know that this is a major way to get free promotion and sell. Big biz has money to pay up front– small ones don’t so it’s sweat, time and energy that gets invested into social media for them. Big biz is catching on to the possibilities, but at a slower pace since they can afford to pay for their advertising.

    Also, I can’t agree that “users of social media are usually suspicious of large companies and brands using social media” because when users are seeking solid information they know that the “big guns” have the resources to do the research and much more in depth. Big still rules in the creditability and authority arenas.

    Big biz took a much longer time to get into the Internet game (and only came in, as fast they could, when they saw how small biz was benefiting), but they are still pretty reticent when it comes to social media. Alas, once they truly become comfortable (i.e., knowledgeable) about SM and how it all works, they’ll be swarming for positioning leaving mommy bloggers in the search dust…

  • Paul Kearns

    Very interesting to read some of the stats in the article – I’ve only been using some forms of social media as a business tool for a months and it can be a bit daunting. Previously I disregarded Twitter thinking that it was a bit sad to be reading about what people had for breakfast, but actually I made a few new contacts – you can follow professionals in your field that you wouldn’t feel confident enough contacting on LinkedIn for example – and often they start to follow you in return. That makes it easier to contact them using other social media.

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  • http://www.mybiztoolkit.co.uk/ Ann Mullings

    Great article. Somewhat similar to UK related reports. Many small brick and mortar businesses have atleast attempted Social media marketing. My own clients are fascinated by what it can do for their business but as highlighted in various places: it takes time both to build a meaningful audience and to see results.

    Francene
    Starple (Love Local Marketing)
    http://www.Starple.co.uk

  • http://www.marketingm8.co.uk Peter L Masters MCIM

    Hi, this is a great article and very useful in highlighting the benefits of Social Media to those who are still unsure or over cautious! 6 hours a week isn’t that and a company employing a handful of Social Media enthusiasts could fit this in most schedules fairly easily. However, what takes someone new to Social Media 6 hours or so could possibly be carried out more quickly and more efficiently by outsourcing initially and training staff to get up to speed. I am finding that people are keen to use Social Media to promote websites that have good content but no traffic! As long as people don’t use Social Media for random acts of marketing and expect to see things happen over night, they should see results. Great post, thanks! Peter (Great graphics!)

  • http://twitter.com/hesspaint Mark Hess

    Great article, as usual Phil; nice concise roundup of all the latest info.

    We’ve been using social for the last three years and have seen increased benefits for our clients with each passing week. Part of the trick is to practice, measure and evolve your strategies.

    Do you think more time spent gives better results, in general; or is there a point of diminished results?

    Thanks, Mark Hess, FullVoiceMedia.com & BizSaves.com

  • http://www.socialxplosion.com/blog/ SocialXplosion

    Social media is an excellent tool for small businesses to use. Social media adds to small businesses biggest strength, building the relationship with their customers. Small business can extend beyond their store front to interact and strengthen the connection with their customers.

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  • http://www.FaceForwardMedia.com SEM Services

    It’s all about a level playing field.

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  • http://www.best-web-hosting-companies.com/ Kavya Hari

    Social media marketing is one of the basic tools to increase the page ranking to the web site. Thanks a lot for sharing your post on here :)

  • http://www.best-web-hosting-companies.com/ Kavya Hari

    Social media marketing is one of the basic tools to increase the page ranking to the web site. Thanks a lot for sharing your post on here :)

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  • http://www.kaltechsolutions.com Kaltech Solutions

    Social Media is a great gift for small and upcoming business.

  • http://www.kaltechsolutions.com Kaltech Solutions

    Social Media is a great gift for small and upcoming business.

  • http://roarmkting.com Ryan Rosado

    I really like this digest of information from the 2011 Social Media Marketing Industry Report. As a small business owner, I also read about how small business owners are looking deeper into less well-known social networks to promote their business and generate leads (Biz Sugar, Blog Engage, About.Me etc). I think this is something that might be further explored in greater detail for next year’s report. Loved the post btw :)

  • http://roarmkting.com Ryan Rosado

    I really like this digest of information from the 2011 Social Media Marketing Industry Report. As a small business owner, I also read about how small business owners are looking deeper into less well-known social networks to promote their business and generate leads (Biz Sugar, Blog Engage, About.Me etc). I think this is something that might be further explored in greater detail for next year’s report. Loved the post btw :)

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  • Pamela Adams

    I have been looking for this exact information….Thanks so much!

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  • http://vastlysuperfluous.tumblr.com Alessandra Ceresa

    Great article. I particularly liked the part about small biz vs. big biz and how they are using social media. I recently wrote a blog post all about this. You can check it out here: http://www.mysmn.com/big-biz-little-biz-a-return-to-the-mom-and-pop-shop/

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  • http://vastlysuperfluous.tumblr.com Alessandra Ceresa

    Small business can definitely benefit from social media, and they can benefit even more if they target their campaigns. Not identifying your target audience is just like throwing stuff against the wall and seeing what sticks. In order to establish a great social media campaign. One MUST develop a target audience. One of those groups these days are Mom bloggers. I recently wrote an article about Mom bloggers and why they can be so important to your campaign. Check it out here: http://www.mysmn.com/moms-online-and-why-you-need-them-2/

  • http://www.bluellama.co.uk Phil de Gruchy

    Great post.  Probably a little outdated now so I hope you’ll be looking at updating the information next year!  :)

  • Chatmeter

    Social media maybe time consuming for small business but it is essential for their growth.

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  • http://www.liquidproductions.co.uk Matt Popay

    Some really interesting graphs. As a small video production business after beginning to use Twitter and other social media sites we’ve seen a massive increase in traffic to our website and a number of new clients too! We love it. Check out our blog about Social Media, how we’ve used it and more… http://www.liquidproductions.co.uk/1248/using-social-media

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  • Lindsay

    I’ve read that content for blogs needs to be approved by the person
    or organization that produced the material. Is this true when something is

    cited? I’ve provided an example below where no permission was asked, but citation was used:

    This advice comes from Family Caregiver Alliance: “Help can come from community resources, family, friends and professionals. Ask them. Don’t wait until you are overwhelmed and exhausted or your health fails. Reaching out for help when you need it is a sign of personal strength” (Taking Care of YOU: Self-Care for Family Caregivers).

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