Small Businesses Double Down on Social Media

Big businesses were the first to invest big resources into their social media marketing campaigns, but now small businesses with smaller budgets are also upping the ante in social media.

According to a recent survey from VerticalResponse, the number of small businesses that have increased their social media budgets in 2012 is four times higher than those decreasing their expenditures, highlighting the growing importance of having a presence on these channels.

Unsurprisingly, Facebook still reigns king, with 90 percent of brands utilizing it in their social media marketing campaigns. At the same time, both Twitter and LinkedIn remain very popular at 70 and 50 percent, respectively. Relative newcomers such as Google+ and Pinterest, on the other hand, trail behind significantly – 68 percent of small businesses don’t use Google+, while 71 percent said the same of Pinterest.

Finding the Time to Be Social

The study reveals two key facts. First, that even the smallest of brands are recognizing the influence of social media. The ability to influence customers’ brand perception is a major asset to any company, particularly smaller ones that may not have a recognizable brand to begin with. Second, that businesses are utilizing a variety of social sites to engage fans and prospects. Obviously, the big three (Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn) are still the top dogs, but the fact that even smaller ones such as Google+ and Pinterest have a number of business users highlights the efforts of many brands to reach a broader audience.

Unfortunately, the sheer number of social channels available to companies also means that many marketers and salespeople are devoting more time and effort to these campaigns. As you know, time is perhaps the most limited resource you have available to you. Spending dozens of hours per week on social media may be hindering other areas of operations, whether it’s campaign planning or evaluation.

Nearly half of businesses (43 percent) spend six or more hours a week on social media, with 7 percent devoting 21 or more billable hours to managing their social profiles. That’s a significant amount of time that could be spent planning, developing and executing other components of campaigns.

The most time-consuming element of a social media campaign is actually publishing the content. Compared to other social media-related activities (such as analyzing efforts, checking out the competition, responding to questions, etc.), actually publishing media was found to take the most time out of the days of marketers and salespeople. In fact, one-third of business owners also want to spend less time on social media, illustrating how time-consuming they perceive it to be.

Marketing Automation Reduces Time Spent on Social Media
Distributed marketing automation platforms combined with digital asset libraries can help you reduce the amount of time you spend managing your social profiles. These tools can accomplish a variety of time-consuming tasks, such as automatically cross-publishing content across a variety of social platforms and creating brand-approved media in a matter of clicks.

Digital asset management enables brands to set up various user-based permissions that ensure only the most relevant content and assets are published on social media streams. It also prevents the publication of off-brand content, a strategy that has been proven effective when it comes to meaningfully engaging prospects.

Social media is an important part of modern marketing campaigns, and if businesses aren’t using it, they are missing out on a tremendous audience. While executing and managing these campaigns can be time-consuming, you can significantly reduce the amount of resources you need to devote to these channels by utilizing marketing automation software.