Vertical Response (VR) work with small businesses and they asked 500 of their clients about their use of social media.
The lessons Massiv have taken from this research is that: small businesses are struggling to keep on top of social media; they’re sticking with the established (essentially Facebook and Twitter) sites and are slow to move to Pinterest or Google+; content is valued, but finding the time to produce it is a problem, and companies are willing to shell out for software that helps them manage their social media marketing.
Let’s go a little further into the detail then. It’s worth bearing in mind that the respondents to this survey were willing to pay for the services of a specialist digital marketing firm so we can assume they’re quite web aware already.
When it comes to that precious time, 43% of businesses were spending more than six hours on their social media. The majority of those – a quarter – spent between six and 10 hours and only seven per cent spent more than 21 hours.
Business owners were spending much less of their own time on social media, but fully one third of them wanted to spend less of it.
It won’t be news to find that two thirds of respondents were spending more time on social media marketing this year than last.
There are two giants in social media and business use reflects that with 90% of VR’s survey group using Facebook and almost 70% of them maintaining a Twitter feed. Pinterest, LinkedIn and Google+ are, for the moment, dragging far behind.
Blogging is still popular, with 55% of VR’s small businesses posting to their own blog and 16% of them spending more than three hours a week doing so.
That ties in with the finding that sourcing content and then posting it takes up most of the time spent on social media. Answering questions takes up the smallest amount of this social media time, less than is spent on checking out the competition’s online efforts.
As well as time, businesses are spending more cash on their social media. In this survey four times as many businesses have upped their social media budgets as have cut them.
If there’s help available – and we recently wrote about Adobe’s new social media management system – then businesses are willing to spend on it. Thirty six per cent of businesses paid for social media publishing or analytic tools and of these more than half spent more than $26 a month on them.
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