Small businesses are becoming more comfortable with social media marketing and are using it more when engaging with customers, according to the Fall 2011 Attitudes and Outlook Survey from engagement marketing company Constant Contact. Of those using social media marketing, Facebook continues to be the tool of choice for small businesses: 96 percent report they use it. Of those, 86 percent find it an effective tool (up from 82 percent in the last seasonal study).
This survey was administered in October 2011 to 1,972 small business owners and employees. Of the respondents, 87 percent of are located in the US and 81 percent of these organizations have 25 or less employees.
In the last six months, small businesses using online marketing tools revealed a significant reduction in perceived barriers to adoption of social media, according to the survey. There is increased awareness that social media marketing need not be time-consuming or difficult, which were both obstacles reported in Constant Contact’s Spring 2011 study.
Small businesses report allocating more time to social media marketing: 81 percent reported using it to advertise their businesses, up from 73 percent in the spring of 2011.
When asked why:
83 percent said it is low cost (up from 72 percent).
67 percent said it is easy to use (up from 54 percent).
51 percent said their customers use social media channels (up from 38 percent).
45 percent said it didn’t take a lot of time (up from 31 percent).
“Small business are still learning how social media marketing can help them grow their customer relationships,” Mark Schmulen, general manager of social media at Constant Contact, said in a statement. “Just six months ago, they were learning the ropes and finding out what social media marketing tools were available. Now, they are beginning to understand more about what social media marketing can do for them.”
Say what you will about the tidal wave that is social media: it’s over-hyped, a fad halfway through its 15 minutes, that <insert social network, platform, app> surely won’t be around in a few years’ time.
But take a look below at the steep curve of the user growth rate in all age ranges and demographics, and the continuing pervasiveness of social networking into every facet of work, play and life in general. It’s hard to argue that social media hasn’t changed forever how we interact and connect online. See for yourself:
Here’s a nice infographic from Useful Social Media that shows the Social Commerce journey from back in February 2007 when the first virtual gift was sold on Facebook.
Some of the infographic highlights include:
Dec 2008 – Dell claimed $1 Million revenue in sales via Twitter
Jul 2009 – Facebook’s first retail transaction via 1800-Flowers
Jun 2010 – Disney launches group ticketing store on Facebook
Aug 2010 – Delta launches ticket purchases via Facebook
Jan 2011 – Living Social sells $20 Amazon vouchers for $10, selling over 1.3 million
Jul 2011 – Facebook stops Facebook Deals
This timeline shows how much growth Facebook commerce has enjoyed over the past few years and how important it’s going to be for 2012. Mark Zuckerberg commented, “If I had to guess, social commerce is the next area to really blow up.”
Have you done anything around social commerce yet?