Social Media Examiner, which is a fabulous source of useful social media marketing information, released a report last month called the 2011 Social Media Marketing Industry Report that detailed how awesome small businesses are at using social media to reach and engage with their audience.
The study surveyed over 3,000 marketers; of those 47% are self-employed or small business owners, so it’s a really good snapshot of what we are collectively doing in marketing.
Here are the 4 most interesting (to me) pieces of data and what they mean for small business owners:
1. An overwhelming majority of small business owners (88%) reported that social media has led to increased exposure to their audience.
Takeaway: Obviously, everyone is doing their homework to find which segments of their audience are spending time on various social networking sites and then creating and sharing content that those segments care about.
2. Nearly three quarters of small business owners (72%) reported that social media has led to increased traffic and subscriptions.
Takeaway: Small businesses are doing such a good job of engaging on social media that their audience wants to learn more about the company, download content (reports, guides, eBooks) from the company’s website, and/or receive content on a regular basis, via blog or e-newsletter.
3. More than half of small business owners (59%) have gained new partnerships thanks to their use of social media.
Takeaway: Don’t just focus on reaching your potential customers – your future business partners are out there, too. Think about what information they would find most useful, and share it.
4. Again, a little more than half of small business owners (58%) said their use of social media has helped decrease their marketing costs.
Takeaway: I’m really curious about this statistic, because even though social networking accounts are free, they require time to set up, integrate with your overall marketing strategy, and then feed and water on a daily basis. Maybe companies are saving money by not attending as many events as they used to, or printing a zillion brochures, or buying print ads, but using social media definitely soaks up resources, even if they are not financial.
Do you agree with my assessments of what the report’s numbers mean? Leave a comment below!
Image via Flickr (creative commons) by ivanpw