Social media plays a significant role in small and medium-sized businesses’ (SMBs) marketing efforts, providing both free and paid exposure to a wide-ranging—and often receptive—audience.
According to a January 2013 survey from online magazine Social Media Examiner, Facebook continues to be the most important social network for most business-to-consumer (B2C) marketers worldwide, given its enormous user base. However, for business-to-business (B2B) marketers, there is a healthy competition among other platforms. Among these marketers, LinkedIn tied with Facebook as the most important social network, while blogging followed 10 percentage points behind.
Interestingly, while YouTube was only the most important social platform for 4% of SMBs total, it is where the greatest percentage of businesses planned to make future investments. Nearly seven out of 10 marketers said they planned to increase their use of YouTube this year.
The greatest benefit of social media was increasing exposure, cited by 89% of respondents, while another 75% said it helped increase traffic. A significantly lesser percentage (43%) said social helped them increase sales. This points to social’s role as a brand builder, first and foremost.
And even as social media may seem like old hat to many marketers by now, quite a few are relatively new to the platforms. About one-quarter of marketers said they had been working with social media for a year or less. And another 30% were 1 to 2 years into their social media marketing tenure. But SMBs have quickly caught on to how important social is as a marketing tool: 79% said they had already incorporated social media into their traditional marketing activities.