SMB Spending on Social Media on the Upswing

Paul Mah
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A recent survey from Zoomerang and GrowBiz Media shows that SMB spending on social media is on the upswing. The survey was distributed to 751 businesses with less than 1000 employees, and it asked each business about its marketing budget as well as what tools and technology were used this year. The report is titled, "Small to Midsized Business Marketing Practices Survey 2011," and can be downloaded in its entirety from here (pdf).


I took a look at the report and below are my key findings:


Adoption of Social Media is on the Upswing


This much is clear: SMBs are adopting social media into their marketing budgets, with 34 percent of those surveyed saying that they employ some form of social media. According to the findings gleaned by the survey, there is also a trend towards increasing the size of marketing budgets allocated to social media. In comparison, slight declines can be observed in the projected budgets for older advertising mediums such as radio and TV shows.


The Most Valued Social Networks


Not surprisingly, the social networks most-recognized by small and mid-sized businesses are Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter-with Facebook coming up tops. In addition, it would appear that respondents under the age of 30 are also the highest adopters of social media.


Websites Underutilized


Finally, the report showed that websites are either non-existent or underutilized by many SMBs. Only 54 percent of respondents indicated that their business currently has a website. I wrote last year about how SMBs are not taking to the Web due to a lack of conviction about being able to find customers online. The new numbers show that this attitude has not changed significantly since then.


Even SMBs that have websites are not using them for e-commerce or to provide customer service-only 30 to 45 percent of respondents indicated that they use their sites for e-commerce and customer service respectively. More advanced e-services such as reservations and appointment systems, affiliate programs or blogs are implemented by a minority of respondents (10 to 15 percent). In 80 percent of the cases, "General Information" was chosen as the primary use for the company website.


SMBs are waking up to the fact that they can significantly boost their marketing efforts and "voice" by taking advantage of social media and the Web. If your business has not considered the use of social networking, perhaps now is a good time to start.

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