About a quarter of small businesses now marketing via social media
After climbing steeply, according to research from Network Solutions and the Center for Excellence in Service at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business, small-business adoption of social media marketing has plateaued at 24%.
The study of US small business found that those that do market via social media primarily use Facebook (82%), and that the most common activities are maintaining a company page on a social network and posting status updates or links to interesting content. About half of businesses that used social media also monitored brand chatter on social networks.
As small businesses have gained experience with social media, some have realized their expectations for the channel did not line up with the reality of the social web. As the wider marketing world begins to look at social as more of a loyalty channel than one for acquisition, small businesses are also finding that their hopes for spreading brand awareness and attracting new customers have not been fully met. By contrast, somewhat fewer small businesses had expected to use social media as an engagement channel, but nearly two-thirds have had success in that area.
My take on this research is Social Media Marketing can’t be placed on auto pilot. Business must commit the time and resources for it to work. Once a business has developed the relationship with a visitor and converts them to a reader/ follower or fan it is like any other business relationship you must work at nurturing and strengthening the relationship. In the social media arena this is the through the delivery of fresh relevant content. Failure to do so will result in the loss of social media followers.