Social Media Marketing Not Seen as Vital by Small Businesses

Here at OSM we often write about small businesses and their use of social media and technology. For instance recently we’ve posted about small business websites and also told why businesses should make time for social media marketing and how to track social media marketing. Disappointingly though it seems that many small businesses in particular don’t see social media marketing as vital for their business.

Although social media is being widely used now in most spheres of life it seems that small businesses are being slow on the uptake and a new study by Hiscox in the U.K. recently looked at opinions of 204 decision makers at U.S. small businesses (between 1 and 249 employees). The study was brought to our attention by Todd Wassermann over on Mashable, sourced from eMarketer, and some of the results and apathy shown about social media marketing is quite surprising.

Facebook and then LinkedIn were the two most chosen platforms for social media marketing by those small businesses that were using this type of marketing but a staggering 64% of respondents in the study were indifferent about social media marketing or felt it wasn’t necessary. Senior editor at eMarketer, Nicole Perrin was not surprised however, saying, “We typically don’t see that they see this as the be-all, end-all. They’re still very focused on traditional word of mouth and very used to traditional marketing.” Perrin also noted that lack of resources was often the reason why small businesses did not establish social media marketing strategies.

Although there’s a lot of evidence that suggests social media marketing for small businesses works and is cost-effective it’s rather bewildering to see that although many small businesses (over half of those in the study) now use social media, most felt it wasn’t vital or essential. In fact only 12% considered it “a must,” while another 24% said they used it when they had time.

In another interesting part of the study the respondents were asked what marketing tool they couldn’t do without. 50% said they needed word-of-mouth recommendations and 14% cited their website. Only 4% though said they couldn’t do without social media. However many seemed to ignore the fact that social media marketing also creates word-of-mouth recommendations.

It’s certainly food for thought and something that many people with small businesses should maybe give some consideration. Do you run a small business and have yet to participate in social media marketing? Maybe you’re involved in a small business that uses social media marketing effectively? Let us know with your comments.