Social media has been dubbed as one of the most effective mediums through which companies can communicate with consumers, but is also known as being a far more prolific tool for customer service than for pure marketing ventures. Virtually all other forms of digital advertising, most notably email marketing, have been found to be far more advantageous when trying to seek out new prospects and convert them into loyal customers, when compared to social media.
Despite all of the research that backs up these ideas, small business owners do not appear to be all that turned off from social media marketing ventures, and there is a case to be made that they are doing the right thing in this situation. After all, the worst outcome of a strong social media marketing campaign would be not realizing the conversions that were expected, but the firm will still be helping itself by way of visibility and current customer retention.
What’s more, social media marketing is among the most novel aspects of digital advertising out there, and companies are still getting their feet wet and gaining some experience with these mediums to get more out of the investment. Consumers too have only really been using social media to find and interact with brands for a few years, compared to email advertising, which has been around for nearly two decades in one form or another.
So, small business owners who have not yet started to consider the launch of a social media marketing campaign should certainly do so soon, as failure to keep pace with this trend could lead to a competitive disadvantage before long. In addition to focusing upon the alignment of social media marketing activities with core corporate missions and objectives, keeping an eye on what others in the small business sector are doing can help to guide decisions over time.
More money with social media marketing
Social media advertising is not the most expensive form of digital marketing out there, but it appears as though spending on these campaigns is skyrocketing beyond what many would have imagined only a couple of years ago. Mobile Commerce Press recently reported that social media marketing expenditures are forecast to hit $37 billion by 2017, which is a massive jump compared to the estimated $24 billion in spending this year.
Citing data released by research firm eMarketer, the news provider pointed out that the total rate of spending on social media compared to the comprehensive figure for all digital advertising should be about 16 percent by the end of 2017, meaning that more companies are getting on board with these mediums for branding purposes. Interestingly, the source also noted that the social media market currently spends roughly $50 per user throughout all networking sites, and this is expected to increase to $71.37 by 2017.
Furthermore, as this was a global report, Mobile Commerce Press found that North America will spend the highest percentage of total global dollars on social media marketing throughout the next two years, followed closely by Asia-Pacific region players in second and European firms in third. Around the globe, the volume of expenditures on these campaigns will increase at a rate of 33.5 percent between this year and 2017, the news provider explained.
Now, with all of this money streaming into the social media marketing industry, small business owners will need to make sure that they are putting those dollars to work in the most intelligent fashion possible, which is no easy task. As is the case with any novel business venture, research, analysis, strategic refinement and reporting will need to be prioritized to realize the desired outcomes leaders expect.
Popular social marketing sites for entrepreneurs
One of the keys to capitalizing on a social media marketing and customer service campaign is to select the networking sites that most closely align with the company’s target prospects. In a broad sense, SurePayroll recently released its latest research on entrepreneurial behaviors with respect to social media use, and found that Facebook remains as the most commonly traversed website for these ad campaigns, with 33 percent of small business owners leveraging the tool.
LinkedIn is making up some ground, with more than a quarter of the responding entrepreneurs using this website for ad campaigns, and Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest took up the third, fourth and fifth positions, respectively.
“Social media advertising allows small businesses to spread the word about their products to a large, targeted audience at a relatively low cost,” SurePayroll General Manager Andy Roe explained. “I think there was a time when small business owners weren’t sure if advertising on a Facebook or Twitter was worth a piece of their budget. But it seems there’s just too many potential customers engaged with social media to ignore.”
By focusing on the development of an intelligent and targeted social media marketing campaign, small business owners can embrace this trend in style.