In March, G2 Crowd surveyed owners and executives of US small businesses and what they found was surprising. G2 Crowd found that small businesses prioritized marketing, despite being hard-pressed for financial resources.
Out of the small businesses that participated, about 24% said they would concentrate funds on marketing and advertising. This segment was significantly larger than the segment of participants who claimed they would prioritize spending on other business essentials such as IT infrastructure and sales personnel.
G2 Crowd’s poll also revealed that social networks were the preferred channel for small business marketing, with Facebook emerging as the most popular choice of platform.
If there was any doubt about Facebook’s viability as a small business marketing channel, that doubt has been erased by the massive 80% of the survey’s participants who said they relied on Facebook for marketing. However this doesn’t necessarily prove that small business owners consider Facebook advertising a good investment. It’s important to note that the respondents may well be using Facebook’s organic features, by creating a Business page and publishing posts.
The second and third popularity ranks on the survey also went to social networks, with Twitter receiving the love of 51% respondents and LinkedIn trailing it closely at 44%.
The most popular traditional marketing medium among small businesses turned out to be newspapers, which are surprisingly just as popular as AdWords and Pinterest, the more expensive digital marketing platforms. This could mean that small businesses find newspapers just as effective as AdWords in targeting the local market, or that both alternatives present them with equally motivating results.
Traditional media like TV, billboards and radio were ranked towards the bottom of the list, indicative of their decline in popularity as compared to digital media.
There could be other reasons why small business owners are concentrating on Facebook for marketing, apart from the fact that organic marketing on the platform costs little to nothing. It could be because Facebook is helping them acquire customers and boost sales.
A study conducted by digital marketing tech agency Netsertive found that 41.5% respondents believed that Facebook was the best channel to drive sales, a massive number when compared to the respondents who experienced sales benefits from Instagram (5.9%), Twitter (8.9%) or LinkedIn (11.1%). But the same study also found that 42% small business owners couldn’t correctly attribute sales to their social media marketing efforts.
Apart from sales, Facebook also offers a platform conducive to the creative decisions of small businesses. According to Social Media Examiner’s small business survey in January, 61% of small business owners said they intended to invest more in live-streaming, a content format which is currently very popular on Facebook.
However, the reason why small business owners prefer Facebook could very well be that it’s the only existing option that provides all of the benefits discussed above at an affordable cost, while other marketing channels demand more of an investment for the same benefits. The fact remains that the social media conglomerate continues to focus on large businesses that can pay for their services and help them expand, as against small businesses that can’t afford to do the same.
* Adapted lead image: Public Domain, pixabay.com via getstencil.com