Study Reveals Power of Facebook for Small Business Marketing

Screen Shot 2015-06-08 at 3.33.19 PMSocial Media marketing has become an essential for small businesses today. With almost half of the world’s population being active on the internet, it is one of the fastest and most effective ways to reach consumers. However, with so many different social platforms to choose from, knowing how to get started is often the biggest challenge that businesses will face.

G/O Digital Marketing conducted a study to better understand how consumers respond to content and advertising on Facebook and how that affects their decision to further explore local businesses.

The reality is, if you’re not already taking advantage of social media marketing for your business then you’re missing out. The misconception that using social media as a marketing tool will not payoff is proven to be a false assumption.  According to the study, sixty-eight percent of respondents said that they have used social media sites to search for local businesses. These statistics support an even greater finding from a study done in 2013 that found that businesses who had experienced a significant increase in overall revenues had increased their spending in social media management and advertising the previous year.

This clearly shows the significance of social media marketing for small business. Now, how do you know which platforms to focus your attention on? Do you spread yourself thin across them all or, focus on just a few? Each and every platform will target a different audience.  Some consumers may prefer Facebook, while others only use LinkedIn and Twitter.  This may tempt small businesses to cater to all audiences by marketing across all platforms however, the study shows that eighty percent of the respondents said that they expect a local business to only be present on 1-3 different social media platforms. Knowing this, businesses can start out by marketing across multiple platforms and based on their results, they can choose the platforms with the most customer engagement and responses and focus solely on those.

One platform that seems to trump them all is Facebook. The study shows that seventy-three percent of respondents said that they think Facebook is the most important social media platform to have a presence and that the average person spends 40 minutes a day checking their Facebook. Here are a few reasons why respondants preferred Facebook over other social media platforms:

Customer Service

One of the main reasons that consumers look to Facebook to communicate with local businesses is for the customer experience.  Twenty-five percent of consumers said that they communicate through Facebook for one of the following reasons: ask for business recommendations/referrals from friends, request customer support, compliment customer service and praise the quality of products bought and services hired. This is important for businesses to remember when implementing their marketing strategies.

Quick Response Times

Many consumers look to social media platforms as a quick and easy way to communicate with small businesses.  Whether they are inquiring about a product or have a complaint, consumers expect a response on Facebook (58%) and Twitter (42%) within 24 hours.  This is imperative to businesses to make sure that they respond  to consumers in a timely manner.

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Targeting Your Audience

Based on the study, the two major ways that people prefer to see ads appear on their newsfeed is based upon their location (15%) and interests (34%). This gives small businesses the flexibility to choose how they target their consumers.

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Content

When consumers see an ad through social media, they are much more motivated to shop after seeing content that promises savings or promotions. This is the single biggest influence that drives consumers to take action and visit a businesses website.

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The Offline Affect

What happens on Facebook will often times progress to other places. Forty-seven percent of consumers said that they would click through a company’s website or mobile site after seeing an ad on Facebook.  This is important for small businesses to think about when trying to drive traffic to their websites or brick and mortar location.

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Are you using social media as part of your business marketing strategy? Tell us how you are using Facebook and what you find most effective for your small business in the comments below!

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Ramon Ray, Editor & Technology Evangelist, Smallbiztechnology.com . Editor and Founder, Smart Hustle Magazine Full bio at http://www.ramonray.com . Check him out on Google Plus, Twitter or Facebook

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