November 17, 2011
Small Businesses Show Improved Customer Management Through Use of Social Media
Small businesses are still learning how social media marketing can help them grow their customer relationships,” this according to Mark Schmulen, general manager of social media at Constant Contact. The latest survey from Constant Contact on social media usage in small business finds that social media marketing efforts are on the rise and thriving. In fact small business representations have grown over the six months since the last survey was administered and the efforts have proved to be an effective marketing and customer relationship building strategy.
“Just six months ago, (businesses) were learning the ropes and finding out what social media marketing tools were available. Now, they are beginning to understand more about what social media marketing can do for them,” says Mr. Schmulen. In last month’s survey, 1,972 respondents, represented by only small businesses of which 81% have 25 or fewer employees, with 87% of the businesses recorded as being located in the US, report that use of specific online marketing tools revealed a “significant reduction in perceived barriers to adoption” of social media tools since last spring’s survey. Survey participants reported an increased awareness of social tools as being able to easily update and quickly distribute information with little effort. In the previous survey, the barriers to usage were a perception that social media tools were time-consuming and difficult to use.
The fall survey indicates that small business perception of social media usage is significantly easier and qualified the use as more time-efficient than previously anticipated. This revelation suggests that small businesses may adapt and make better decisions more quickly than their larger, corporate counterparts. Since discovering these barriers to usage were not founded, respondents to the survey say, although these tools do not require a significant amount time, the businesses now report wanting to allocate more time to the effort. Facebook and Twitter being the clear winners in the category of target marketing, showing an increase of usage by these respondents, to 96% and 76%, respectively.
The fall survey reviewed effectiveness of these channels for business marketing purposes, and found that Twitter (up 13%), Facebook (up 4%), and LinkedIn (up 8%), saw an increase in effectiveness from the Spring 2011 survey, with review sites reported as losing ground.
Businesses report that consumers want one to one feedback on questions and business interrogatives, and they require appropriate channels in which to find the answers they seek, as well as timely responses to their concerns. Staying visible on social networks where consumers congregate and discuss value of their encounter may be a crucial barrier to negative press, as well as for growth, since social networking sites are a cost-effective strategy and a way to solidify your message.
EWeek reports that, according to this survey, “roughly 60 percent of small businesses respond to all comments on social media platforms, whether those posts are positive or negative,” and Schmulen adds, “It’s a great example of how small businesses are taking advantage of their smaller scale to make a huge impact with these tools.
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