Nearly 40% of American small businesses use social media marketing (SMM) to build their brands – up from 10% last year and since everyone is looking to more effectively and efficiently hook up with their customers and its no surprise to me to see the growth of active brands in SMM.
Among brands using social media marketing, 39% say it has increased it’s brand exposure however 17% say their brand has seen no benefit at all.
Why the difference? My bet is that it all comes down to strategy, execution and measurement.
Here’s how the the social media tool usage breaks down by the numbers: 27% – Facebook, 9% – LinkedIn, 8% – Twitter, 5% – Blog.
In my personal brand experience (e.g., with my own brand site and client sites) if only 5% of SMB’s in the study are using Blogs, then I’m not surprised to see their disappointment. Blogs ROCK by adding rich search engine friendly copy and help guide and customers. A Blog is a natural extension to your Website and email marketing and to not have one is a big mistake.
Blogs are a low cost platform for 1 to 1 and 1 to many conversations and discussions and they boost website traffic and help you manage your online reputation and so much more. And, I can’t think of a brand that could not benefit from having a Blog. And, a better Website! Lots of small businesses are not keeping up with putting forth a great Website presence – all of this interactive/social stuff needs to be integrated people!
You need to remember that your customers now have their own audience and are a communication channel and the more you can improve your brand experience and customer relationships and be connected to them via social media marketing you will build bridges between you and them and their friends and family.
Sure this stuff takes time, but anything worthwhile usually does! And, the multiplier effect of this low cost communication tool (remember this stuff can help you save on advertising spending) will pay off far more than the time you invested in it if you truly ‘bring it.’
As people move more to mobile computer use, social media communication will skyrocket and all communication networks will be social.
We’re getting there pretty fact already – about 30% of Facebook users access their accounts via their phones now (check out Facebook Connect)!
Sources: eMarketer the American Express OPEN fall 2010 “Small Business Monitor.”