A recent survey has found that smaller businesses depend highly on social media than any other media, and it is in fact drawing the most expenditure and usage.
Social media is currently topping other media platforms, for small to medium businesses, excelling in usage and spending.
The survey found 74.5% of small to medium businesses – those with fewer than one hundred employees – at the present moment use social media as a means of promoting and advertising their businesses. A near 3% increase from the previous year.
In confirmation from the survey, smaller businesses also spend an average of 21.4% from their total media budget on social, more than other media platforms, with a figure increase from 18.9% from the previous year.
A surveyor commented: “Social has been on a tear for about five years now, and it has gotten to the point where it is now the most-used category in terms of reach, and it also now commands the largest share of budget of all categories. Social is No. 1 in both reach and spend – that is a first.”
The survey taken is in its 18th edition, and the recent one was based on an online survey conducted in July, by just over 500 small to medium businesses.
Just over half of those surveyed, serve primarily consumers; 30.8% serve both consumers and businesses in equal amounts; and 15.6% serve primarily businesses. The remaining respondent were not certain.
Small to medium businesses only recently use social media, more than any other business platform, for business purposes.
As an example, their business usage of print advertising and outdoor advertising, combined mounted to 59.3% in 2014, quite the decrease from 2013’s 63.0%.
With their expenditure, on print advertising and outdoor advertising, a total of 18.5% from this year, decreased from 20.9% in 2013.
“What’s happened is that print and outdoor together have switched positions with social in terms of reach and share of spend,” the surveyor said.
“Social is now the dominant media category for SMBs. it’s a convenient and user-friendly platform by which they can connect with their local market. It’s very inexpensive – which is a big deal – and there are low-participation barriers.”
Their social media role of digital marketing channels used for business purposes resulted in Facebook pages dominating at 55.1%, followed by LinkedIn ads at 31.0%.
The surveyor added, “We believe the great majority (of LinkedIn ads) are going for HR and personnel and are not designed to drive sales.”
20.0% of respondents, coming third place were Facebook ads and regular tweets and/or retweets on Twitter.
However, while smaller businesses are embracing social media to establish their businesses, they’re a still not too confident about the ROI of social media, compared with other more established platforms.
Only 26.2% of small to medium business users of social media, rated it sa ‘extraordinary’ or ‘excellent’ in showing ROI.
The front-runners cited by small to medium businesses, for delivering ROI, were online banners/display advertisements, containing video footage, (which 59.3% of respondents giving this ‘extraordinary’ or ‘excellent’ ratings); streaming audio advertising, (57.7); and offers that had been distributed on smart phones and/or tablets, (54.0%)