While a clear majority of small- and medium-sized businesses are using social media -- and Facebook especially -- relatively few have invested in paid marketing efforts, new data shows.
In fact, while 55.1% of SMBs say they maintain a Facebook Page, just 20% report having run a Facebook ad or promoted post. That’s according to the latest research from BIA/Kelsey, which based its findings on a recent online survey of 546 SMBs across various sectors.
Overall, 74.5% of SMBs say they presently use using social media to promote their businesses, which is actually more than any other media category.
While Facebook continues to dominates SMB usage, the social giant is facing more competition from LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter’s promoted tweets program.
“It’s evident … that social media has become a pivotal platform for SMBs,” Steve Marshall, director of research at BIA/Kelsey, said in the new report. “Social media is not only number one in terms of utilization by SMBs, it is also number one in share of SMB media spending.”
In fact, from July of 2013 through July 2014, SMBs said they spent 21.4% of their total media budget on social media, BIA/Kelsey found. Among other social properties, Facebook has a lot riding on the success of smaller businesses. By its own estimate, the Pages of local business are responsible for more than 645 million viewers -- and 13 million comments -- in an average week.
Facebook continues to appeal to SMBs with better ad targeting options. This summer the company that Mark Zuckerberg built hosted a five-city “boot camp” named, “Facebook Fit.” The camps focused on various strategies -- like advertising on Facebook -- for small businesses to improve their fortunes.
Analysts say Facebook is just beginning to tap the potential of SMBs. “Google appears have topped out [among SMBs], while the roots of Facebook just seem to be getting deeper and deeper into digital culture,” Greg Harmon, senior research analyst at Borrell Associates, told Online Media Daily late last year.
BIA/Kelsey’s report covered more than 35 different media and platforms used by SMBs for advertising and promotion. It defined an SMB as a business having from 1 to 99 employees. More broadly, BIA/Kelsey recently estimated that local media spending would increase by only about 2% from $138 billion this year to $140.7 billion in 2015.