According to the daily publication MarketingCharts, 87% of small to mid-sized businesses say that social media helped them either “somewhat” or “a great deal” in 2012. So naturally, most of those polled (80%) pledged to increase their use of social media in 2013. Let’s hope so, since social media only accounts for 32% of those companies’ overall marketing activities.
Stringing together endless statistics like these tends to make the reader’s eyes glaze over, mostly because it takes too much thought to figure out what those numbers mean, much less pondering how to practically apply them to a client’s social media campaign. With that in mind, here is a simple way of communicating what those three statistics tell us:
- Most businesses who tried social media liked the results.
- Most businesses want to increase their use of social media in the future.
- However, businesses aren’t yet ready to commit to social media as a primary marketing method.
For those who do social media marketing, it is easy to roll the eyes at the idea that business owners aren’t ready to commit to social media. But it would be better if the online marketing community took a more sympathetic approach. Putting ourselves in the shoes of a business owner who was around long before Web marketing went mainstream, we can easily see how it may be a little scary to think about never purchasing another ad in the local direct mail coupon flier, especially if he’s been doing that for years.
What we as a social media marketing firm do to help those business owners feel more comfortable is propose ways in which the company Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ pages can perform the same functions as the traditional marketing methods they are used to. One example is asking them to tell us about any specials they are promoting, and then posting content on their pages that advertises those specials. Coupons can easily be shared on social media as well, so we may encourage a client to put one on the website so we can share it across all his social media channels. Once established business owners see how traditional marketing principles can still live on in social media marketing, they are more likely to embrace it as a long-term practice.
What the numbers tell us about social media marketing is that companies like it, but they aren’t ready to make it their top advertising priority. Our job is to help smart business owners see the benefits of social media marketing as a primary strategy, rather than a supplement.