As a small business owner, I know firsthand that social media is not only an economical way to advertise to my target market, but is also a superior marketing mechanism for many reasons. I am able to track- in real-time, many nuggets of important information like referring URL’s; click-through rates on display advertising; stats for SEO purposes; time spent per page of my website and how individual promotions are performing.
I was therefore shocked upon reading a recent poll conducted by Hiscox, a small business insurance provider, which found that only 12% of small business owners who were polled considered using social media a “must” for their business.
Social media adoption varies greatly by company size according to the study in that 62% of businesses with 50-249 employees use social media for business, compared with 46% of those with 1-9 employees. 50% of respondents said they couldn’t do without word-of-mouth marketing while just 4% said the same about social media marketing.
Small businesses whose target market includes 18 – 34 year-olds should think twice about dismissing the adoption of social media marketing. In a recent survey conducted by Barkley entitled, The “American Millennials,” researchers found that over half of millennials, defined here as consumers ages 16 to 34, liked checking out brands on social media sites compared with just over a third of older adults.
More importantly, especially to businesses whose target market segments include millenials, the survey found that a third of them like brands more if they use social media. That was nearly double the percentage of older adults who said the same. Not surprisingly, the study found that millennials were more likely than older adults to “like” a brand on Facebook, and did so more often.
The level of interaction was also higher. Nearly one in four millennials (23.5%) interacted with content from a brand’s Facebook page at least once a daily, vs. 17% of older adults who did the same. Overall older adults were nearly twice as likely never to engage with brand content on Facebook.
Almost 53% of millenials in the Barkley survey stated that they like checking out brands on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter compared to only 17% of survey respondents ages 35-74. Twitter is ideal for establishing credibility as an expert in a subject or field, and gaining ‘followers.’ Whether one owns a catering company or a fitness center, tweeting information such as new studies, trends or an article in which the small business owner is showcased asserts his/her credibility and attracts new followers of that information…and future customers.
Traditional marketing will always remain somewhat valuable however social media should be at the top of small business owners’ marketing strategy plans- especially those who target millenials.
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