There can be little argument that social networking is now regarded as the go-to marketing tool for business promotion.
Yes there are still those who doubt its credentials and dispute its true value, but few can argue with the fact that social networking is no longer just a passing fancy. Facebook, after all, is currently celebrating 10 years in the game, so social media has unquestionably got stamina. But is social networking only for the big players or is it still a useful marketing tool for smaller businesses? Well, a recent survey by email marketing software provider, AWeber, has found that small businesses, or microbusinesses as it calls them, are now embracing social media and are looking to become increasingly involved over the next year or so. The research was based on a survey of 1,486 small business owners and marketers, 96% of which had 5 or fewer employees.
The survey found that small businesses, particularly those with 5 or fewer employees, are looking to step up their social media marketing efforts over the next 12 months.
AWeber’s figures suggest that microbusinesses are eager to increase the use of blogs, Facebook and Twitter in order to spread the word about their company. 74% of the businesses surveyed intend to increase their use of blogs this year, whilst 76 per cent expressed their intentions to invest more time and effort on Facebook. Twitter and email marketing are also singled out for action, with 60% of businesses looking to increase their use of Twitter, and 89% intent on increasing their email marketing efforts.
The survey was commissioned to find out the importance of online marketing for businesses and found that while the vast majority of microbusiness owners acknowledged the importance of online marketing, most admitted that it wasn’t something they were well versed in. More than 94% of the businesses surveyed said online marketing was very important to the growth of their business, but only 12% claimed to have any online marketing expertise. As far as experience of online marketing goes, 29% saw it as overwhelming, whilst 60 per cent claimed that they only had limited experience and tended to stick to just one channel.
What other marketing trends did AWeber’s survey identify?
Well, some microbusinesses indicated that they planned to branch out further and explore more visual social media tools this year. The study shows that 22% intended to use Vine more in 2014, 20% expected to post more photos via Instagram and 17% hoped to get more involved via Pinterest. However, for all the talk of a desire to increase online marketing efforts, the vast majority of the small businesses surveyed agreed that their principal focus was still on word of mouth recommendations as these consistently beat social media tactics as the number one marketing strategy.