Facebook continues to build out its marketing and advertising products for small businesses, and local merchants tell us they love social media. But there still appears to be a gap between what small businesses really need from the medium.
Street Fight Insights teamed up with Thrive Analytics to survey 500+ small business owners in the U.S. to understand their use of and attitudes toward digital marketing and ecommerce. To best serve these local merchants, companies in the connected local economy value chain should supply them with tools and services to measure the impact and efficiency of their social media marketing programs.
It’s no surprise that owners/operators feel they don’t have the time to manage their social media. That’s especially true for the 58 percent of them who told us they were updating their social media pages on a weekly basis. By the way, that’s 15 points higher than the percentage that said they were doing that for their website and almost three times as many as were doing so for their listings info.
But the shocking stat is just how many don’t feel they’re getting return. And that’s in spite of the fact that two-thirds of them are using social media for marketing, and many plan to increase their efforts.
So what’s the problem?
Earlier, I outlined some potential mismatches between SMB marketer expectations and what social media is really good for. My Street Fight colleague Stephanie Miles went into more detail, with seven key insights that marketing suppliers can pass along to small business customers. At the same time, many local merchants — as many as 80 percent — still rely on a Facebook page alone, without supporting advertising or marketing tactics to actually get customers to the page.
The thing is, social media can’t stand by itself. Relatively few small marketers are equipped to integrate their social media with other key marketing tactics like email, loyalty programs, and ratings and reviews. Social lead generation is particularly challenging, and should be integrated with email, offers, and content marketing. Even among relatively sophisticated small marketers, their primary marketing dashboard is the basic social media platform itself. That’s what 35 percent of the survey respondents told us they were using; fully 55 percent were not using any type of dashboard at all.
Our report uses case studies to outline best practices for integrating and managing social media marketing, and using tools or third-party agencies to track effectiveness. It identifies nearly a dozen tools that can help. That’s not intended to be an exhaustive list. For more, Street Fight has posted recently on social media data platforms and on tools for measuring social marketing effectiveness.
David Card is Street Fight’s director of research.
Click here to purchase a copy of the Street Fight Insights report, Getting the Most out of Hyperlocal Social Media Marketing.