Most local merchants are strapped for cash, time and human resources so their marketing outlets have to give immediate results and be simple and inexpensive to administer. That’s why small and local businesses are rushing toward social media outlets like Facebook, Twitter and blogs to promote themselves. Facebook has gained the most popularity, with 70% using the social network (up from 50% one year ago) according to the Merchant Confidence Index survey by MerchantCircle.
Consumers are also flocking to connect with SMBs on Facebook, making the site one of the most effective marketing tools, right behind Google search. Social, search and email are rated as the three most effective outlets for small businesses, also helping their small budgets stretch further. More than 50% of local businesses spend less than $2,500 annually on marketing with few planning to allocate more funds in 2011.
Mobile marketing is yet an enigma for almost 75% of merchants and daily deals have only been adopted by 11%. While consumers seem to be trigger happy for local deals, merchants are less eager with negative or mixed results experienced by many businesses.
Of the $26 billion online advertising market, small businesses account for about half that revenue, with big brands matching their spend. Google’s bottom line has benefitted significantly in the last ten years from the large SMB base buying its search advertising. Facebook has similarly been boosted from this group and now Twitter is honing in on SMBs as well. Twitter’s promoted ad product is being used by about 100 small business advertisers. That’s not bad considering there are 125 big brands using the ad service, according to the Wall Street Journal. Twitter’s relatively low cost and unique targeting and placement make it a generally better ROI than Facebook or Google.
It’s important to remember that connecting with your customers is the driver for social media. There is a different decision cycle for someone “liking” your Facebook page vs. a clickthrough from organic search results for a long-tail phrase. Even though resources are minimal, small businesses should tailor their messaging, landing pages and calls-to-action based on the outlet and their customer’s behavioral trends.Post by Jennifer Gosse.