Small Businesses' Social ROI Struggles Won't Stop - eMarketer

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Small Businesses' Social ROI Struggles Won't Stop

Nearly six in 10 SBOs don't see ROI from social media activities

June 3, 2015

Small businesses remain so-so about social media, and recent research suggests issues with return on investment (ROI) are one factor limiting small businesses’ usage of such platforms. In a January 2015 study by Social Media Examiner, just over four in 10 small and medium-sized business (SMB) marketers worldwide said they were able to measure the ROI of their social media activities.

US Small-Business Owners Who See ROI from Social Media Activities, by Monthly Amount, April 2015 (% of respondents)

April 2015 polling by Manta found that nearly six in 10 US small-business owners (SBOs) still weren’t seeing ROI from social media activities. And even those who did weren’t rolling in the dough. Respondents were most likely to see a return of less than $100 per month from social. Just 13.5% generated monthly social ROI of more than $1,000.

Companies must put in time to drive optimal social results, and Manta found that SBOs had been slow to do this. About one-third of respondents had increased time spent on social media over the past year, vs. 34.4% who said it had remained the same.

Research firm Clutch found similar results in a February 2015 study. Here, 38% of US SBOs had increased employee time spent managing social media profiles compared with 2014, but the same percentage said this had remained flat, and 16% had even decreased time spent.

Change* in Spending on an Outside Agency/Consultant for Social Media Guidance Among US Small-Business Owners, Feb 2015 (% of respondents)

But piling hours on existing employees isn’t usually enough; outside sources are also helpful. Clutch found that just 12% of SBOs had increased spending on outside agencies or consultants for social media guidance over the past year, and 30% had actually decreased dollars.

SMBs that want to ramp up social media efforts and generate ROI should consider blending in-house and outside resources. Mike Rosa of 180Fusion said: “If you’re a small to medium-sized business and have limited resources, having an agency involved is very important. Ideally the best outcomes that we see are in situations where small businesses have an agency in place to provide a lot of strategy and generate content, and then having a business owner or someone engaged on their end as well.”


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