In a week when it was revealed that Facebook has finally broken the 800 million user barrier, it shouldn’t really come as too much of a surprise to find that the latest survey reports that the majority of SMBs think Facebook is the business. The survey by Pagemodo found that 47 percent of small businesses using Facebook for social media marketing found that their web traffic had increased significantly. What’s more, 48 percent of those businesses also stated that their web conversions have also improved dramatically. They put this down solely to the quality of social media content that businesses have shared on Facebook. However, as a note of caution, it should also be added that 50 percent of respondents also reported that they don’t currently operate a Facebook account. So, what if anything does this latest survey tell us that we couldn’t probably have already guessed?
The phenomenal growth in social media has led businesses, particularly the small ones with fewer than 5 employees, to re-assess their marketing strategies: we’re not talking here about a little bit of tinkering, but a fundamental re-assessment from the foundations upwards. What seems odd, if this is the case, is that nearly 20 percent of the polled businesses claimed to have started a company Facebook page before their websites went live. However, 47 percent of these businesses were clear in their contention that a Facebook page undoubtedly attracts more traffic than a website, so maybe their reactions are perhaps a little more understandable.
The statistics on how Facebook pages generate business are actually enlightening. It found that of those businesses who did use social media marketing, 85 percent used it to share basic information about the business, 62.4 percent used it to share content, videos and pictures, 46 percent used Facebook to share conversations with customers and 27.2 percent used the medium to deal with customer complaints. The survey also found that, contrary to perceived opinion, only 23 percent of businesses used Facebook to offer discounts and run contests. The majority opinion was that the ability to provide simple content and build a sense of community and shared purpose were seen as more valuable than selling a few extra products.
The figures for the increase in web traffic and customer behaviour are also revealing. 47 percent stated that they saw a significant amount of their traffic come to their company website from Facebook. 43 percent believed their Facebook pages delivered considerably more traffic than their websites, and most importantly of all, 48 percent believe that the visitors coming to a business website from Facebook are far more likely to convert. This is thought to be because they have already learned all they needed to know about the product and have engaged with it and the producer through social interaction.
Interestingly, even those businesses who did not see an increase in conversions via Facebook are not intending to decrease their exposure on the social media channel in the coming months. 73 percent of SMBs are in fact going to increase their exposure, and 25.4 percent are going to keep it to roughly the same level. Only a mere 1.6 percent are going to back away for good. The final point of interest to come from the survey is that, although 50 percent of SMBs claim not to have an existing Facebook account, 60 percent of these are planning to get one in the next 12 months.