High-Spending Small And Medium-Sized Businesses To Increase Social Budgets

Many more small and medium-size businesses this year began using social media to augment search campaigns, forcing Adobe Systems, Kenshoo, IBM, Marin Software, and others companies traditionally focused on search engine marketing to adapt and change their business model.

SMBs that spend more than $25,000 annually on advertising and promotion plan to allocate 17.4% of their marketing budgets to social media in the next 12 months, up from 15.6% in 2013 and 10.5% in 2012, per BIA/Kelsey's Local Commerce Monitor study.

These high spenders -- or "Plus Spenders," as Steve Marshall, director of research, BIA/Kelsey, calls them -- represent a very desirable segment of the SMB market for local media and marketing companies.

The ongoing BIA/Kelsey study of the advertising behaviors of small and medium-sized businesses, points to an increase in social media usage by high-spending SMBs. In fact, 81.3% of SMB high spenders use social media to promote their businesses this year, up from 76.6% in 2013. About 41.5% report spending a minimum of 10 hours per week on social media, and 17.5% will spend a minimum of 25 hours per week on it.

Consumer opinions count. About 62.6% rate customer opinions on Facebook as "extremely important" or "very important."

The high spenders use multiple social media platforms, but 26.4% say they use Google social or local services, followed by Twitter with 26%; Twitter's Promoted Tweets, 20.3%; Instagram, 16.3%; Pinterest, 13%; and Yahoo social or local, 12.6%.

Social and search help prospective consumers find SMBs, but to compete with online giants like Amazon, the National Retail Federation suggests that SMBs will need to work smarter -- not harder -- through email campaigns, search and social strategies. They can also take part in Small Business Day Nov. 29, sponsored by American Express.

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